Acid Rain, broadly known as acid precipitation is caused due to emissions of Sulphur dioxide or nitrogen oxides in the air. When the sulphur dioxide gets mixed with water it forms sulphuric acid and sulphurous acid which is toxic by nature. The nitrogen oxides form Nitric acid which is equally damaging.
When these harmful emissions get mixed with the air they cause Air Pollution and result in the Acid rains. The factories, cars, boilers, and other heavy machinery release the gases in the air causing harmful effects on nature.
These rains are dangerous for the flora, fauna and the marine life as well as the acidic content in rains is very high. The only way to minimize acid rains is by minimizing the factors that cause it. The consumption of fossil fuels should be depreciated which includes the automobiles and industrial sectors. These are the primary pollutants of air which leads to the further chemical process of acid rain.
Causes of Acid Rain
Erupting volcanoes and rotting vegetables released chemical that could turn out to be the causes for acid rains. However, most of the acid rains are certainly caused due to various human activities. Coal-burning power plants, automobiles and factories are the major contributors to these. When fossil fuels are burnt by humans, elements like nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide are known to be released.
These elements being some of the major pollutants react with other substances including oxygen, water and air, airborne nitric and sulfuric acid. These acidic compounds get spread across over hundreds of miles with the winds. With these toxic elements, as the acid rain hits the earth surface it gets mixed up with surface run-off water, sinks down the soil and also enters other water systems.
Effects of Acid Rain
Nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide cannot be dealt primarily as greenhouse gases that may be a major cause of global warming. In fact, sulfur dioxide creates a cooling effect in the atmosphere. However, nitrogen oxide becomes a contributor to the evolution of surface level ozone which could be really harmful to people. Both gases are considered highly toxic since they can spread around very easily with the air causing health and environment related issues.
The ecological effects of acid rain are caused to streams, lakes, wetlands and other aquatic areas. Such water is turned acidic by acid rains. It results to more absorption of aluminum into the soil which is further carried to lakes and streams. These toxins carried to aquatic bodies are a life risk to various fish species.