Acid rain is no longer a new word today. In the modern world, this issue may become a common chapter to study in a school. The word Acid rain has become a common word for us now, but the phenomena are not. Acid rain is the precipitation of either water, hail, or snow that is acidic (have lower pH value). The major cause of acid rain is industrial pollution which lowers the pH of precipitation and makes the rainwater acidic. Chemically, the Acid has a general behavior to wear or destroy anything that comes into contact with it. That’s why acidic precipitation harms the environment and habitation, With Industrial Development, the negative effect of acid rain is also increasing day by day. Here, there are some causes and results on how acid rain affects our environment and mankind.
Acid rain effect on the ecosystem
Fish and Wildlife
One can easily found the harmful effect of acidic rain in aquatic habitation sources such as lakes, rivers, marshes, etc. Here the acidic water harms marine creatures like fishes and other wildlife. When the acidic water flows through the soil, it osmoses the Aluminum, the metallic element from the soil particles. This releases Aluminum mixes with water and flows along with water into lakes and streams. The rate of releasing the Aluminum depends on accumulation of acid in the ecosystem.
Many Aquatic creatures and plants can permit themselves to sustain in that harsh environment. But rest of the species are acid sensitive and can undergo death as the pH level of water declines. Generally, the young species are more sensitive to this kind of situation than the adult ones. For example, most fish eggs cannot hatch at pH 5. Some adult fishes die at lower pH. Frogs can survive up to pH 4. But mayflies which are the major source of their food cannot survive below pH 5.5. Thus, it leads to starving conditions for the frogs which results in the breakage of the whole food chain for aquatic creatures. Moreover, there are so many lakes found in the world which have no fish due to higher acidic level of water.
Plants and Trees
Not only wildlife, but Acid rain also has some negative effects on Vegetation. Magnesium and Calcium are some of the vital nutrients which are very important for the plant for its growth. Acid rain obliterates these nutrients from the soil and allows the plant to get infected and damaged by the insects and weather. Being an important factor to deposit the aluminum in the soil, acid rain allows to seep Aluminum into the soil and make trees tough to collect hard water from the soil. Moreover, the precipitation of acid rain which directly comes in a contact with leaves destroys the outer coat. Due to this, the outer coats get wear out gradually which prevents the photosynthesis process. The photosynthesis process is a major source for vegetation to create energy to survive. Thus, due to the prevention of photosynthesis, the trees or plant dies.
On the other hand, the precipitation of acid rain gives birth to clouds that contain acidic particles and acidic fog at a higher elevation. These acidic clouds depredate the important nutrients from the foliage of trees. As a result, the leaves become dead or brown. Some of the leaves of particular plants converted into foliage. Because of this, the leaf surface for photosynthesis or sunlight absorption gets shrink. As a result, a plant begins to get weaker and less able to survive in some regions where the temperature is quite lower.
Not only on Environment, but the Acid Rain effect on Human health too. Generally, No one can differentiate acid rain and normal rain through naked eyes. Acid rain quite looks, tastes, and feels like clean rain. Even though there is no direct adverse effect of acid rain on the human body. Swimming in the acidic lake or walking in acid rain cause no dangerous or harmful effect on the human body. It gives the same feeling like to swim in clean water. However, it doesn’t mean that acid rain is not harmful to us. But in actual, their core elements, responsible for acidic precipitation like Sulphur dioxide and Nitrogen dioxide plays a vital role to make a negative impact on human.
The major sources of Sulphur are petrol and diesel engines and industries. Whereas Nitrogen can be found directly in the atmosphere. The released Sulphur and nitrogen in the atmosphere interact with the oxygen and other gases and form the fine particles of Sulphate. These fine particles wandered in the air and flow to the long-distance through winds and spread all around. Even more, the sulfate particles are too fine that they can easily penetrate through a tiny hole of a window. Ultimately, they entered into a human through the respiration activity and damaged the lungs. As per research, People leaving on the higher elevation have found themselves to be suffering from Asthma and bronchitis due to elevated levels of Sulphur dioxide.
On the other hand, the breathing of nitrogen oxide makes one suffer from breathing-related problems such as tiredness, cough, and nausea. The worst fact is that the person who breathed more nitrogen oxide may suffer from serious lung problems in short term. Apart from this, nitrogen oxide can also react with some other air pollutants to release Ozone gas. Though ozone gas has its advantages for human health and the environment but has some adverse effects too. The Ozone layer is responsible to form air dense and hazy which creates difficulty to see through clearly. Thus, sometimes results in road accidents. Moreover, people cannot enjoy the beauty of their favorite place like gardens, mountains, etc.
Acid Rain: Prevention efforts
However, when Effect of Acid Rain on Environment comes into the radar of the world. The prevention efforts were also started to reduce the effects of acid rain on the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is seeking many companies to reduce the emission of Sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide since 1990. In past, The EPA has started an acid rain program in 1990 and by the end of 2010, the total Sulphur dioxide cap was set to 8.96 million tons. The notable thing is that this quantity was one-half of the total emission of Sulphur oxide emitted in 1980 by the power section only.
According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), controlling the emission of such acidic gases from vehicles and buildings a major step to prevent Acid rain. This positive result can be achieved only by restricting the consumption of fossil fuels. On the other hand, the use of an unconventional source of energy such as solar energy and wind energy can also help us to decrease acidic participation.