Essay on Acid Rain
Acid Rain includes rain, snow, hail, fog, or dew that is high in acid pollutants, especially sulphuric and nitric acid. Acid Rain is mainly caused by emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from various sources. They react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids. The problem of Acid Rain has not only increased with rapid growth in population and industrialization, but it has also become more harmful. In fact, the use of the tall chimneys on a factory, ship, has contributed to the spread of Acid Rain by releasing gases into the atmosphere. A large number of acid deposits are witnessed in Canada, the United States, Europe, portions of Sweden, Norway, and Germany. Some amount of acid deposits are found in parts of South Asia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Southern parts of India like Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai.
Types of Acid Rain
There are two types of depositions in which acid rain occurs. They can be discussed as follows:
- Wet deposition: When the acid falls on the ground in the form of rain, snow, fog or mist, it removes acid from the atmosphere and settles them on the Earth’s surface. When this acid flows through the ground, it affects a large number of plants, animals and aquatic life. The water from drain flows into the water sources like rivers and canals which is then mixed up into seawater; thereby affecting the aquatic habitats.
- Dry deposition: When the acidic pollutants merge into dust or smoke and fall to the ground as dry particles, these stick to the ground and other surfaces such as buildings, cars, houses, trees, and monuments. Majority of the acidic pollutants in the atmosphere spread through dry deposition.
Causes of Acid Rain
The major causes of acid rain are Natural and Human-Instigated causes. However, Acid Rain is basically caused due to the combustion of fossil fuels which results in emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NO2) in the atmosphere.
Natural Sources: The main nature causing agents for acid rain are volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes emit a large amount of lava, producing harmful gases which create a higher than normal amount of Acid Rain. Decaying vegetation, wildfires and other biological processes within the environment also generate the Acid Rain forming gases. Lighting strikes also produce nitric oxides that react with water molecules via electrical activity to produce nitric acid, thereby forming acid rain.
Human-Instigated Sources: Human activities leading to the emissions of chemical gas include sulphur and nitrogen gases from the factories, power generating premises and automobiles. Mainly, the use of coal for electrical power generation is the biggest contributor to gaseous emissions. These also lead to acid rain. These gases react with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds such as sulphuric acid, nitric acid, etc. As a result, those areas experience exceedingly high amounts of acid rain.
Harmful effects of acid rain
Acid Rain adversely affects the environment includes marine biodiversity, soil, architecture & infrastructure, forests, and forest wildlife, public health. For example, Taj Mahal is turning yellow mainly due to air pollution, discoloration of marble due to oxidation of its constituents is one of the harmful effects of acid rain.
Methods to Avoid Acid Rain
Acid Rain caused due to the natural reasons cannot be stopped. But there are ways following which we can avoid the same, caused due to man-made reasons. The ways by which acid rain can be avoided are by the use of limestone by which people can repair the damages caused by acid rain to lakes, rivers, brooks, and other water sources. By adding lime into acidic surface also we can avoid acid rain as water balances the acidity.
Use of hybrid vehicles with negligible NO2 emissions is also a way out. Besides fossil fuels, there is a wide range of substitutable energy sources that can generate electrical power these include wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, nuclear power, and hydro energy. Using these energy sources can offer effective electrical power alternatives. Instead of using fossil fuels, use of natural gas, fuel cells and batteries can also substitute use of fossil fuels.
As you can see, there are many attempts to clean our air. Due to increase in population and rapid industrialization, we need to make efforts on a war footing to reduce the phenomenon of Acid Rain. The whole world needs to take a call to avoid inflicting colossal damage to the environment.