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Pollution refers to toxic pollution, largely as the byproduct of recharging friendly mechanoids. Even using a wood-fired generator or chemfuel generator won't create it, for instance.

Creation and Spread[edit]

Within Colonies[edit]

Ground pollution generated by a toxifier generator, visualized by the pollution overlay. The tiles under the player-built walls are polluted, though this does not show on the overlay.

Each toxic wastepack that is destroyed or disintegrates creates 6 tiles of pollution. Any means of destroying wastepacks creates pollution, except for the wastepack atomizer.

A toxifier generator creates 6 tiles of pollution every 3 days.

Defoliator ships will pollute an expanding circle of tiles when landing, centered on the ship. This is in addition to the actual defoliation; the pollution is separate and spreads much slower.

Pollution created again in the same area will spread in an expanding circle. Natural rock walls block the pollution spread, but player-made walls and other structures do not.

Pawns lingering in polluted tiles will accumulate Toxic buildup at a rate of 40% per day, assuming no Toxic Environment Resistance or Toxic Resistance. Unlike Toxic fallout or other map conditions, this is not mitigated by roofing the tile.

On the World Map[edit]

Dumping wastepacks on a hex utilizing caravans or transport pods will increase the pollution percentage of the hex by 0.05% per Wastepack dumped, or 1.3% per full transport pod. Once a world map hex reaches 100% pollution, any additional pollution gain will instead happen to one of its 6 possible neighboring tiles- this can spread pollution to the player's colony if one is not careful.

Caravans walking through polluted terrain will accumulate Toxic buildup based on their Toxic Environment Resistance and Toxic Resistance stats. The unmitigated rate will be at 20%/day for Moderately Polluted tiles (50-75% pollution) and 40% per day for Extremely Polluted tiles (75~100% pollution).

Dumping wastepacks within 15 tiles of another faction settlement will cause the player to take a relationship penalty, scaling up with the number of wastepacks dumped and proximity to the settlement. Outlander and pirate factions may send a drop pod of waste back at you, while hostile factions can raid you.

Pollution may also exist from world generation, where certain tiles will be heavily polluted. You can configure the pollution coverage, with 5% as a default.


Pollution takes the form of polluted tiles. Polluted soil has a fertility of 50%, as long as the soil's original fertility is greater than 0%. Polluted soil can only grow a limited number of plants, namely:

Having polluted tiles increases the map's overall pollution, which causes a number of effects.

Colonists will receive toxic buildup from standing on these tiles.[Detail Needed]

Pollution on the ground can be turned back into toxic wastepacks with a pollution pump, or by ordering colonists to clean it up.

Acidic Smog[edit]

If there is enough pollution present within 4 tiles of your world tile, a weather effect known as Acidic smog will occur. How often depends on the level of pollution present. Tiles 2-4 spaces away have a 0.5x multiplier to pollution.

Acidic smog covers the outdoor area with a greenish haze, reduces light levels by −28%, slows plant growth by ×50% (stacking with reduced light for a total of 22% growth), gives non-immune colonists the −5 Acidic Smog moodlet, and deteriorates items at 300% speed. Items and pawns indoors are not affected by acidic smog in any way. Having the Total antitoxic lungs or Tox immunity gene renders immunity to the acidic smog moodlet.[Other immunities?]

Despite what players may expect, acidic smog itself does not have any negative health effects. The smog will affect pollution-friendly plants such as toxipotatoes the same as it does other plants. It does not provide or maintain Pollution stimulus's effects.


Originally engineered as anti-mechanoid bioweapons, Giant insects are drawn to pollution. When a toxic wastepack is destroyed, there's a chance for insectoid cocoons to emerge from the ground. These cocoons will hatch if a pawn comes within a small radius of it.

Pollution stimulus[edit]

Insects and humans with the Pollution Stimulus gene are stimulated by the toxic fumes of polluted terrain, making them faster and deadlier.

  • Pollution stimulus (minor):
    • Moving x110%
    • Consciousness +5%
  • Pollution stimulus (moderate):
    • Moving x115%
    • Consciousness +5%
  • Pollution stimulus (maximum):
    • Moving x120%
    • Consciousness +5%

Pollution Mitigation[edit]

Cleaning polluted tiles[edit]

  • Having colonists manually clean pollution via the Zoning tab. This exposes them to toxic buildup.
  • Pollution pumps automatically pick up pollution in the area when powered.
  • Letting polux trees cleanly consume pollution. However, they only grow in sufficiently polluted areas, and seeds are difficult to come across.

Note that the former two ways of cleaning pollution up only turn it into toxic wastepacks, which then need to be dealt with somehow.

Living with pollution[edit]

Toxic resistance stacks additively with other sources of Toxic Resistance, but stacks multiplicatively with Toxic Environment resistance. For example, a face mask and detoxifier lung, or face mask and partial antitoxic lungs, offers 100% resistance to pollution. A face mask and detoxifier kidney only provides 75% resistance to pollution.

Version history[edit]

  • Biotech DLC Release - Introduced.
  • 1.4.3682 - Fix: Pollution overlay grid not updating after cell-filling buildings are destroyed.