How is SO2 an air pollutant?
Sulphur dioxide causes harm to the environment in many ways:
1. It combines with water vapour present in the atmosphere to form sulphuric acid. This causes acid rain. Acid rain damages soil, plants, and buildings, especially those made of marble.
2. Even in very low concentrations, SO2 causes irritation in the respiratory tract. It causes throat and eye irritation and can also affect the larynx to cause breathlessness.
3. It is extremely harmful to plants. Plants exposed to sulphur dioxide for a long time lose colour from their leaves. This condition is known as chlorosis. This happens because the formation of chlorophyll is affected by the presence of sulphur dioxide.
SO2 dissolves in moisture present in air to form H2SO4 which damages building materials especially marble (acid – rain).- CaCO3 + H2SO3 ——->CaSO3 + H2O + CO2
It corrodes metals like Fe and steel. It also brings about fading and deterioration of fabrics, leather, paper, etc., and affecting the colour of paints.
Even in low concentration (= 0.03 ppm), it has damaging effect on the plants. If exposed for a long time, i.e., a few days or weeks, it slows down the formation of chlorophyll i. e., loss of green colour. This is called chlorosis
It is strongly irritating to the respiratory track. It cause throat and eye irritation, resulting into cough, tears and redness in eyes. It also cause breathlessness and effects larynx i. e. „ voice box.