Atmospheric pollutants

Burning fuels creates many atmospheric pollutants.

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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