We’ve all felt the impulse to stand in the first rain of the summer, letting the water drench us to our fulfillment. However, there’s no telling what the side-effects of such an action could be, especially in today’s age, where the climate crisis has ravaged the earth’s atmosphere and rendered it practically poisonous for us.
What is Acid Rain?
As the name suggests, acid rain is a form of acidic precipitation, meaning that it has a pH (potential of hydrogen, or the amount of acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution) of 5.2 or less. The name ‘acid rain’ was first invented by the scientist Robert Angus Smith in 1852, during a study of rainwater around the industrial hubbubs of Britain.
Primary Causes of Acid Rain
Acid rain is mainly formed when the air becomes saturated with nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. These are produced due to an overuse of industrial mechanisms, appliances like refrigerators, ACs, etc. So, it is apparent how the principal causal agent of acid rain is air pollution, attributable almost wholly to manmade problems.
Acid rain has many negative effects on the environment, ranging from huge damages to the soil, forests, plants, lakes, marine lines, buildings, and monuments, etc. It also causes skin diseases when directly exposed skin comes into contact with it. In some cases, skin cancer has also been recorded.
How Acid Rain Damages Soil?
Acid rain severely depletes the number of natural nutrients and minerals present in the soil, like aluminum. The useful bacteria and the fertility of the soil are also destroyed, leaving it practically useless for plants and trees.
Acid Rain and Plantlife
Since acidity in the soil leads to depletion in the level of nutrients and aluminum, it directly results in an overall negative impact on the plants and trees that grow. The metabolic activity of these plants drastically slows down, and they’re able to absorb less sunlight, which means that they grow withered and frail due to less photosynthesis.
Acid Rain and Marine Life
Various types of fish that live in large lakes and reservoirs fall prey to the impact of acid rain. They ingest the toxic water that the added acidity brings to their habitat and fall prey to various defects and diseases. Many aquatic animals have shown a reduction in reproduction levels, and in the case of shellfishes and corals, their skeletons have been shown to get dissolved in acidic environments.
Buildings and Monuments
For any chemistry enthusiast, this requires no explanation – calcium reacts with the acid to create gypsum, a flaky substance like rust. So, when the acidic rainwater combines with marble and limestone, it leads to a severe depletion in the quality of the monuments or manmade structures.
Sustainable Methods to Curb Acid Rain
To remedy the ill effects of acid rain, newer production methods are being conceived of since the burning of fossil fuels is proved to be one of the major causes of acid rain. Moreover, governments have started implementing policies for the sustainable use of natural resources and adopting staunch anti-pollution norms and guidelines.
By working together and for the global community, acid rain must be controlled at once so that one day we may again step out under the rain with no fear whatsoever.