New Zealand's Environment Reporting Series: The Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a highly reactive gas formed when fuels containing sulphur, such as coal or petrochemical products (including high-sulphur ship fuel), are burned. It is also produced from industrial processes such as superphosphate fertiliser production and smelting sulphur-containing metal ores. Geothermal and volcanic gases are the main natural sources of sulphur dioxide.
When inhaled, sulphur dioxide is associated with respiratory problems such as bronchitis. It can aggravate the symptoms of asthma and chronic lung disease and cause irritation to eyes. On days with higher sulphur dioxide levels, hospital admissions for cardiac disease and mortality increase. In ecosystems, it can injure vegetation, acidify water and soil, and affect biodiversity.
More information on this dataset and how it relates to our environmental reporting indicators and topics can be found in the attached data quality pdf.