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Acid Rain - Rains that differ from the normal rain

By Staff

 

Acid Rain is the rain which contains higher level of acid than normal. After reacting chemically with pollutants in the air the natural precipitation becomes acidic. The rain with PH below 5 or 4.5 is termed as acid rain.

Its formation:

The acid rain is formed by the atmospheric droplets of water combined with a range of man-made chemical of air pollutants. Acids like sulfuric acid and nitric acid are mainly responsible for the pollutants in air. The pollutants is produced mainly by the combustion of fossils fuels, smelters, power plants, automobile exhaust, domestic fires...etc. These oxides are swept into the atmosphere and oxidised into acids. Sulphuric acid and Nitric acid dissolve in the water in the atmosphere and fall to the ground as acid rains or may remain in the atmosphere in clouds and fogs.

Its main causes :

The Acid rain is a man - made phenomenon. The main cause for such rains is rapid increase of industrialization. Activities such as burning of fossil fuels coals and oil for generation of thermal power by thermal power stations is mainly responsible for the major source of acid to be formed in the atmosphere. Because of the advent of industrial revolution, human activities has released pollutants like Oxides or Nitrogen and Sulphur to a large extent. Automobiles exhausts, volcanoes, fires and decomposing of matters are some of the natural factor for Acid rain.

 

Its impact :

Under normal conditions, rain water is slightly acidic as carbon dioxide dissolves and reacts to form a weak acid called carbonic acid which is not harmful. However, because of man's destructive acts like the burning of fossil fuels, power plants, automobile exhaust, industries and many more, it spoils the natural acidic balance and converts natural rains into acid rains with several environmental implications. This leads to several ill effects in the ecosystem, like change in the colour of leaves, premature drop of leaves and flowers, gradually leading to the extinction of trees. It greatly effects the aquatic life due to the acidification of lakes and streams.

The fertility of the soil gets reduced as the decomposition of organic matter and formation of Nitrogen fixing organisms is reduced by the acids. The soil gets acidified which leads to the loss of productivity of crops and damage to the roots of the plants. Thus, the flora and fauna is badly affected It has a bad impact on monuments, statutes and buildings too. Latest research states that the acid deposition can accelerate the decay of building materials and paints. It can also be the major cause of various health issues in human beings due to the increased respiratory and skin problems such as skin cancer.

Steps to be taken into action

Certain preventive steps should be taken up to reduce sulphuric acid and nitric acid emission from the hot air or smoke. In the industrial outlet electrostatic precipitators and bag house should be used. Use of furized coal or low sulphur coal is also advised by the experts. Switching over to renewable source of power like nuclear energy, hydro-electric power, wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy, power plants energy...etc is of great help. Modification of automobile engine to reduce emission pouring powdered limestone into water for reducing acidity should be practiced. Liming of surrounding soil, provided the limit is acceptable and does not cause any harm. Green revolution should be a prime motto. Plantation of trees, gardening..etc should be followed by ever other being to save their planet Earth from such environmental issues.

Story first published: Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 16:32 [IST]
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