Acid Rain!

 In your school or college, we all have once come across the phrase ‘Acid Rain’. Many of us have forgotten about it and many of us do remember the topic in detail. So, in this article, I am going to put some light on the following topics:-

I) What is Acid rain?

II) How much acidic is Acid rain?

IIl) Effects of Acid rain.

V) What can be done?

What is Acid rain?

When gases like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide (produced by the burning of fuels from factories, power stations, or vehicles) react with tiny droplets of water in clouds to form sulphuric and nitric acids. Which is the form of rain that falls from the clouds, which is why that rain is known as ‘Acid Rain’.

How much acidic is Acid Rain?

We all have learned in school about the pH scale, the scale which is used to determine acidity. This scale goes from 0 to 14, where 0 is the most acidic and 14 is the most alkaline and 7 is neutral. Acid rain is very weak in terms of acidity.

Rain is always acidic because of the presence of naturally occurring oxides in the air, for unpolluted rain the pH value is between 5-6. But when the air gets more polluted with the presence of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in it, the acidity can increase to a pH value of 4. The most acidic rain recorded till now has a pH value of 2. But, even the most acidic rain ever is as acidic as lemon juice or vinegar. 

Now that we know it can’t harm us then why do we worry about it? 

What are the effects of Acid rain?

Though Acid rain can cause skin irritation to some people, there are many effects of Acid rain on the forest, aquatic animals, and water resources. 

Effects on Forest:-

I) It can dissolve and wash away the nutrients and minerals in the soil which helps the trees to grow.

II) Acid rain causes the release of harmful substances such as aluminum into the soil.

III) Acid rain wash away the waxy protective coating of leaves, damaging them and preventing them from being able to photosynthesis properly.

Effects on Buildings:-

I) Acid rain can make the erosion process of materials faster. 

II) Statues and monuments made up of limestone are worst affected by Acid rain.

Effects on Lakes and Rivers:-

I) It can be very harmful to aquatic species.

II) It can also cause toxic substances like aluminum to be released into the water from the soil, resulting in water pollution.

III) It can destroy the ecosystems of lakes and rivers.

What can be done?

Mentioned below are some ways to reduce Acid rain:-

 By installing catalytic converters on our vehicles.

→ Sulfur can also be ‘washed’ out of smoke by spraying a mixture of water and powdered limestone into the smokestack.

 By using renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels.

 By conserving energy. 

 By carpool or using public transport.

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