Atmospheric pollutants

Burning fuels creates many atmospheric pollutants.

PollutantSource
Carbon dioxide CO2Complete combustion of any fuel containing carbon.
Carbon monoxide COIncomplete combustion of any fuel containing carbon.
Sulfur dioxide SO2Combustion of a fossil fuel that contains sulfur impurities.

Sulfur dioxide as a pollutant

Sulfur dioxide is created when sulfur atoms, present in some fossil fuels, are oxidised.

sulfur + oxygen → sulfur dioxide

S + O2 → SO2

Sulfur dioxide can react with rain water forming sulfurous acid, H2SO3 which falls as acid rain.

SO2 + H2O → H2SO3

Acid rain harms and kills living things, especially those in aquatic environments. It can also damage limestone and marble statues and buildings. Acid rain also defoliates trees.

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