Pattaya Daily News

21 March 2010 :: 16:03:44 pm 16265

What is Acid Rain?

In plain simple English, ‘acid rain’ is exactly what the words describes – rain that is acidic, though in scientific terms, it has a wider meaning. Anything that falls from the atmosphere is considered to be acid rain, whether it is dry or wet. It is caused by pollution.
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Acidic gases or particles are referred to as dry deposition where by the dust particles are just absorbed by the surface of the earth or plants, not becoming acids until they come in contact with water. Wet deposition involves acid rain which comes in the form of snow, fog, rain or dew. Whether it comes in the form of particles, rain or other wise, they can be termed as acidic. Normally rain is acidic though weak as the pH of rain is lower than seven, but if the concentration of pollutants increases in the atmosphere the pH level decreases further, reacting with the moisture thus forming strong acids like sulfuric and nitric.

Pollution has fast become a major problem that faces the world, each country trying to do their bit to deal with the pollution, by lowering the harmful emissions that are being released into the atmosphere through human activities. Pollution in the air, leads to acid rain as the harmful gases which are in the air we breathe gets mixed with the moisture and forms acidic clouds which then leads to ‘acid rain.’

The increase of industrialization for example, factories, vehicles, power stations and industries, in fact all things that burn fuel producing harmful gases are added to the atmosphere and contribute to more than seventy per cent of the sulfur dioxide with almost seventy five per cent of oxides of nitrogen being released in a similar way which are sources of acid rain.

The gases, Sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are the two that cause acid rain to form. These gases rise above into the atmosphere, combining with water vapors, oxygen and other chemicals which form acid rain. How ever, natures own contribution to gases is volcanic eruptions, lightening, forest fires and rotting vegetation. These however, contribute less than ten per cent of the total amount. Sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are so light they can be carried far away from the industries that actually spewed them so acid rain can also be experienced in places where there is little or no industrialization.

Many preventive measures have been put in place and are still being implemented to stop the pollution like smoke treatment chambers that treat the smoke before it comes out of the manufacturing. The smoke in the smoke chamber is converted into such gases, which are acceptable for the environment, but there are such industries like the coal power plants, which emit gases that pollute the atmosphere, but the infrastructure does not allow setting up a smoke treatment chamber.

Decomposition of the soil is altered which results in the deterioration of plant life and also disturbs the ecological cycle. The existing plant fails to grow healthy as the acid rain causes them to lose their nutrients present in the soil. Acid rain has a big effect on aquatic life, as the acids get dissolved in the water and if it does not lead to the death of aquatic life, it definitely leads to intoxication which is then passed on to the food chain. This in turn leads to the death and diseases of many animals in the food chain. Acid rain has many serious implications for the continuation of life on this planet.

Acid rain is not directly harmful to humans and animals, it feels and tastes like normal rain and taking a walk in the rain won’t have any effects on health. The gases however, when inhaled cause heart and lung problems like asthma and bronchitis. Although elements like wind, water and ice cause erosion of structures and buildings, damages are hastened by acid rain as the acid corrodes the material used in the making of.

Patty Brown

Photo : Internet   Category : Stories

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