Sulphur dioxide, air pollutant

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In this age of industrialization, we are enjoying the benefits that technology has given us, but we are mostly ignorant of all the negative effects these advancements have. We are greatly benefitted from the vast range of automobiles and industries on which we have no doubt become extremely dependent. Gaseous emissions from these sources are not only toxic for the environment, but also for the living beings, specifically humans. One of the components of these emissions is Sulphur dioxide.
It is a major air pollutant that is colorless and has a pungent smell, released from the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, in different industries, and it is also a product of the burning fuels in automobiles released from the vehicular exhausts. Natural sources of Sulphur dioxide include forest fires, plant decay and volcanic eruptions. Sulphur dioxide can enter our bodies in three ways: Ingestion, Inhalation and direct contact. As Sulphur dioxide is used as a food preservative, it can easily be ingested. High concentration of Sulphur dioxide on a long-term basis can result in breathing problems, respiratory illnesses such as Bronchitis, Emphysema and Pulmonary Edema, alterations in pulmonary defenses, and aggravation of existing cardio vascular diseases. Furthermore, there are also some precautionary measures that common man can take to ensure minimum interaction with Sulphur dioxide. These include the usage of Mass Transportation systems like Public Transport to make sure that number of cars on roads is reduced as much as possible, and hence reduce Sulphur dioxide emissions.
Shehroz Ahmed
Islamabad.