Environmental and Health Issues of Sulphur Dioxide
Sulphur dioxide, SO2 is one of the by-products of the Contact Process. It is one of the sources of environmental pollution.
- Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is the pollutant primarily associated with acid rain.
- Acid rain occurs when pH of the rain is between 2.4 and 5.0. This is due to the reaction of sulphur dioxide, SO2 with rainwater.
SO2 + H2O→ H2SO3
- The negative effect of acid rains includes
- corrosion of concrete building and metal structure.
- corrosion of monuments and statues made from marble
- causes erosion of top soil.
- killing aquatic life.
- SO2 is an irritant when it is inhaled and at high concentrations may cause severe problems in asthmatics such as narrowing of the airways, known as bronchoconstriction.
- Asthmatics are considerably more sensitive to the effects of SO2 than other individuals.
Sources of SO2
- The principal source of SO2 is from the combustion of fossil fuels in domestic premises and, more importantly, non-nuclear power stations.
- Other industrial processes such as manufacturing of sulphuric acid also contribute to the presence of SO2 in the air.