Acid rain is additionally referred to as acid deposition or acid precipitation. Acid rain is mainly a result of air pollution. It includes any kind of precipitation that contains a high amount of nitric or sulfuric acid.
The precipitates are not necessarily to be wet or liquid; they can be dry or in the form of snow, dust, or fog as well. The normal rain has a pH of 5.6, which makes it slightly acidic. Whereas, acid rain has a pH between the range of 4.2 to 4.4, which is highly acidic.
Acid rain is formed when the discharge from polluting agents like factories, cars, oil refineries, and heat boiler comes in contact with the water in the atmosphere. These discharges include toxic gases like sulfur trioxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide. These emissions react with the water and convert into sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and sulfurous acid. A small section of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide comes from the explosion of volcanoes and the burning of fossil fuels to generate electric energy.
Acid rain is not only the problem of areas that are closed to emissions releasing places, but it is also a global problem since the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide travel through the wind from one place to another.
Acids That Acid Rain Contains
Acids that acid rain contains are sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and nitric acid (HNO3). They are produced by sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), respectively, which after mixing with industrial emissions and water content of the clouds, take the form of acid.
Effects of Acid Rain
The acid rain has negative consequences on the environment, and it affects each and everything. Both the gases found in acid rain (nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide) are very hazardous and have caused climate change. Nitrogen oxide is one of the factors responsible for the generation of ground-level ozone, whereas sulfur dioxide has cooling properties. But both the gases are damaging to the environment as well as humans.
The acid rain precipitates can transform buildings, plants, soil, and even statues. Acid rain washes away the preventive layer of leaves, weakens the trees, and inhibits their growth. Acid rain increases the acidic level of sea, river, and lake water, making them uninhabitable for the fishes and other aquatic animals. Since we have an interconnected ecosystem, if one thing gets affects, it affects the additional related items as well. So other non-aquatic animals also get affected by acid rain indirectly.
Acid rain changes the composition of soil and causes the acidification of land. This change in the soil’s form affects the crops. Acid rain also degenerates marble buildings and monuments.
Furthermore, it is not harmful to humans. The skin contacts with the rainwater or snow don’t cause any severe harm. But the toxic gasses that acid rain contains like nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide travel through the wind from place to place. These gases contain nitrate and sulfate particles, and when humans inhale them, these gases cause respiratory disorders.
Some Solutions to Stop Acid Rain
The only solution to stop acid rain is to reduce pollution and emission (containing harmful gases), which comes from buildings and vehicles. Moreover, reducing the use of fossil fuels in the industrial sector to produce electric energy can also stop acid rain. Instead of burning fossil fuel, we should go for more natural and safer alternatives like solar and wind power.
We also can play a part in reducing acid rain by switching to public transportation, walking, and riding instead of using our vehicles. Reducing the excessive use of electricity that is generated mainly from fossil fuels and shifting to solar power can contribute to reducing acid rain as well.
Acid rain (Wikipedia)