Civilization Wiki
Pollution city screen (Civ1).png

Pollution may be caused by large resource production in cities, large city populations, nuclear weapons, or the meltdown of a Nuclear Power Plant. If a city has a potential pollution problem, smokestacks in the city display information window indicate the probability that a nearby map square may become polluted.

Pollution Mechanics[1][]

Each city has a "tolerance" for 20 Smokestack Points per turn. Each point generated beyond that become a smokestack on the city display, representing a 1% chance per turn that a square around the city will become polluted.

Map Pollution[]

Pollution map (Civ1).png

The pollution in a map square may be cleaned up by a Settler. Move the Settler into the square and press the Pollution key (P key) or choose the Pollution option from the Orders menu. It takes four turns of work to clean up pollution. If pollution gets out of control, Global warming may occur.

Undocumented Bugs/Features[]

After the player discovers a high number (depending on difficulty level among other factors) of Future Tech, pollution begins to spawn near cities without relation to city pollution. With each subsequent turn, the amount of pollution spawned per turn continues to increase (regardless of further Future Tech research). Due to the high rate of pollution, a permanent cycle of global warming becomes inevitable.

Players playing on Emperor should expect to encounter this pollution event around Tech Level 64.

It has been theorized that this is an undocumented feature that the game developers put in to signal the player has reached a "high enough" score.

For discussion on this bug, see this thread.


  1. From the book "Rome on 640K a Day"