Acid Rain


Acid rain is a wide term used to refer to a mixture of dry and wet atmospheric deposition that contains abnormal amounts of sulfuric and nitric acids. The acid level in acid rain in measured in pH, concentration of hydrogen ions. The chemical precursors of the formation of acid rain are due to both human behaviors and natural sources. Human behaviors such as burning fossil fuels as well as natural sources like decaying vegetation and volcanoes are primary emissions of the nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides to the atmosphere which lead to formation of acid rain.

A research study conducted in United States of America affirmed that, a quarter of nitrogen oxides and two third of the sulfur dioxides in the atmosphere results from human source such as power generation that depends on fossil fuel compulsion like coal and petroleum products. Therefore, the study affirms that, human sources are the major of atmospheric pollution hence leading to formation of acid rain.

Sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides react with oxygen, water and other chemicals found in the atmosphere to form different acidic compounds. A mild solution of nitric acid and sulfur acid if formed as a result. When power plants release nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides, wind blows these compounds across states. Therefore, acid rain is an international distress.

Effects of Acid Rain

Acid rain is a solemn problem to the environment which has affected most parts of the world, especially western industrialized nations. Acid rain has got great impact to both man-made and natural environments. Aquatic ecosystems are the most affected by the acid rain due to direct deposition. Both wet and dry acid rain flows from field, forest and roads into aquatic ecosystem. Although once acid rains enters into large water bodies is diluted, with time, continued accumulation of acid rain lowers the pH of the water body hence making it acidic. This results to the death of aquatic life.

Besides aquatic ecosystems, acid rain can extensively impact vegetation. As acid rain fall on plants, it can make their leaves fall, distort their bark as well as inhibit their growth. Through destructing these parts of the plant, acid rain makes the susceptible to severe weather conditions, insects and diseases which may lead to the loss of the vegetation.

Measure to Control Acid Rain

As a result of adverse effects of acid rain on the health of human beings, several measures have been put in place to control nitrogen and sulfur emissions. Many governments are coming up with systems to help reduce amounts of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides going to the atmosphere. This has assisted the world to curb the severity of acid rain.


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