Acid Rain refers to a highly acidic rainfall, which causes material atmospheric and environmental depletion. It majorly affects plants, aquatic creatures, infrastructure, etc. Being acidic means it contains an elevated level of hydrogen ions, i.e., low pH. In fact, normal rainwater is already slightly acidic with a pH range of 5.3-6.0, because carbon dioxide and water present in the air react together to form carbonic acid, which is a weak acid. When the pH level of rainwater falls below this range, it becomes Acid Rain.
Long and Short Essay on Acid Rain
Essay 1 (250 words)
Although the name might give you the impression that its pure acid falling from the sky but no, Acid Rain is actually created when certain gases are mixed with atmospheric moisture to create precipitation which is more acidic than the normal one. Acid Rain can easily be defined as rain, fog, sleet or snow that has been made acidic by contaminants present in the air as a result of fossil fuel and industrial combustions that mostly emits Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2).
Acid Rain can be classified as Dry Acid Rain or Wet Acid Rain. Both the wet and dry forms of acid rain can be carried away by the wind and travel a long distance before being deposited. Apart from these natural reasons, the pollution in the environment due to the chimneys, industries, vehicles, etc, constitute man-made reasons for Acid Rain.
When the Acid Rain falls, it can dramatically alter the acidity level of the habitat and can cause great damage and destruction to the living as well as the non-living things within.
The most drastic effects from Acid Rain could be damaging for all one and all including forests wildlife, aquatic biodiversity, human beings, buildings, infrastructures, soil, historical monuments and many more.
The way by which each one of us can prevent Acid Rain is by start using cleaner forms of energy, such as the use of solar power, recycling of natural resources and by the massive tree plantation i.e. Afforestation. If we are determined to prevent Acid Rain on our part, then it can definitely lead to a better state of the environment and a balanced pH level of air.
Essay 2 (400 words)
Acid Rain refers to a mixture of deposited material (wet or dry) coming from the atmosphere having huge amounts of nitric acid and sulphuric acid.
In simple terms, it means the rain that is acidic in nature due to the presence of certain elements in the air which is aggravated by the pollution of cars and industrial processes. Acidity is determined on the basis of the pH balance of the water droplets. Although, normal rainwater is slightly acidic with a pH range of 5.3-6.0 because carbon dioxide (Co2) and water(H2O) present in the air react together to form carbonic acid. But when the pH level of rainwater depletes below this range, it is referred to as Acid Rain.
Causes of Acid Rain
Both natural and man-made reasons are said to play an important role in the occurrence of Acid Rain. Both volcanoes and decaying vegetation are the natural reasons for the release of gases that result in the formation of Acid Rain. However, the majority of gases come from man-made sources, such as fossil fuel combustion.
Effects of Acid Rain
Acid Rain has alarmingly negative effects which can be described as:
- Acid Rain can cause various respiratory problems and make breathing more difficult.
- It speeds up the decay of building materials and the paint on them is more likely to peel.
- The acidity also wears down stone statues, making them appear older and reducing their value. For example, the Taj Mahal has had to face the ill-effect of Acid Rain on its structure.
- Acid Rain also releases excess aluminum into the soil around trees, which makes it difficult for them to absorb the water. For example, in Germany, there is a place called the “Black Forest”, which received its name because acid rain caused the trees to drop their needles with the result that they simply turned to black trunks and branches.
- It may not seem as though Acid Rain is much of an issue, but it can cause disasters, more than that we can even imagine.
How to Stop Acid Rain?
There is a number of ways to prevent Acid Rain. But one way by which each one of us can stop it is by starting adopting cleaner forms of energy, such as solar power, recycling of waste and use of electric cars. As we know, there are numerous attempts to clean the air, but the atmosphere is still a long way from being clean. If a man becomes more careful about the environment, the occurrence of Acid Rain can be minimized. But if we are not resolute in our attempts to reduce atmospheric pollution, we may eventually cause grave damage to all our natural resources, which would lead to the extinction of life on the Planet Earth.
Essay 3 (500 words)
Acid Rain can be defined as a type of rain or fog that is acidic in nature.
Basically, Acid Rain occurs when hazardous gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOX) react with rain. Exhaust fumes and open-air burning release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. When these gases enter the environment, they mix with the pure rainwater to form deadly chemicals & acids like carbonic acid, sulphuric acid, and nitric acid. Eventually, they form acid rain.
Acid Rain Causes
Mostly, Acid Rain occurs as a result of rising levels of pollution. Acid Rain is thus quite common in large towns and cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, and New Delhi, etc. This is due to the rapid industrialization and urbanization in these areas. However, acid rain and its effects are not confined or limited to these areas only; as the air blows it takes the hazardous chemicals along with it to far off places. Scientists also agree that fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas, when burnt are a major cause of Acid Rain. Thus, industries that use fossil fuels like the automobile industries, paper industries, and chemical industries should minimize the emission of harmful gases, which will in return reduce the percentage of acid in the rain.
Adverse Effects of Acid Rain
Acid rain has many adverse effects which can be described as follows:
- Lakes and rivers cannot sustain aquatic life when acid rain flows into the water. Acid rain affects the aquatic habitat of the ecosystem. The number and types of water animals and other aquatic plants that live in these waters decrease as the lakes, streams and other freshwater bodies become more acidic.
- It also leads to a reduction in crop yields.
- It causes massive damage to forests and wildlife. When acid rain falls in forest areas, it releases toxic metals such as lead and zinc which cause the reduced growth of trees and plants. In this way, acid rain brings about reduced growth and the ultimate forest depletion.
- Being corrosive in nature, it can cause extensive damage to the buildings and infrastructure. An example of an important building that has been corroded by Acid Rain is the Taj Mahal at Agra.
- Acid Rain also affects human beings. Skin problems such as rashes and itching, hair loss and breathing problems are caused due to acid rain. Acid rain can also lead to heart and lung problems.
- Due to acid rain, the poisonous metals seep into underground drinking water sources also, thereby making it unfit for human consumption.
Solutions to acid rain:
Most of the factories are required to be equipped with Scrubbers now. Despite being very expensive to maintain, they remove the maximum amount of sulfur dioxide after the coal is burnt. In scrubbers, poisonous gases are sprayed with a mixture of water and lime; limewater, which make a substance known as Sludge.
Another solution to lake acidity is liming. Lime is very alkaline, so when poured into lakes, it clears out the acidity. The only problem with liming is that it is expensive and only a temporary solution.
Another solution is something called a catalytic converter, which is required for all cars, buses, autos and other road transport. The converter is mounted on the exhaust pipe forcing all exhaust to pass through it. The catalytic converter converts gases like nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and unburned hydrocarbons into cleaner air.
Essay 4 (600 words)
Acid Rain includes rain, snow, hail, fog, or dew that is high in acid pollutants, especially sulphuric and nitric acid. Acid Rain is caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which reacts with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids.
The term “Acid Rain” was coined in 1872 by Robert Angus Smith. The problem of Acid Rain has not only increased with rapid growth in population and industrialization but has also become more alarming. In fact, the use of the smokestacks (tall chimneys on a factory, ship, etc) to reduce local pollution has contributed to the spread of Acid Rain by releasing gases into regional atmospheric circulation.
A large number of acid deposits are witnessed in Canada, the United States and most of the parts of Europe, including portions of Sweden, Norway, and Germany, currently. In addition, 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.
Harmful effects of acid rain:
Acid Rain adversely affects the following broad categories of the environment:
- Marine Biodiversity
- Architecture & Infrastructure
- Forests and Forest wildlife
- Public Health and so on
Methods to Avoid Acid Rain: Acid Rain caused due to 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 as follows:
By the use of limestone, known as the liming process, by which people can repair the damages caused by Acid Rain to lakes, rivers, brooks and other water sources. By adding lime into the acidic surfaces, water balances the acidity. Although, it only offers only a short-term solution at the expense of solving the broader challenges of SO2 and NOx emissions and risks to human health, nevertheless, it helps to restore and allow the survival of marine life by improving chronically acidified waters.
Millions of people directly or indirectly contribute to SO2 and NOx emissions. Mitigation of this challenge requires individuals to be more updated about energy conservation such as; turning off lights or electrical appliances when not using them; use public transportation; use energy-efficient electrical appliances; and use of hybrid vehicles or those with negligible NOx emissions.
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. Harnessing these energy sources can offer effective electrical power alternatives instead of using fossil fuels. Natural gas, fuel cells, and batteries can also substitute the use of fossil fuels.
As you can see, there are many attempts to clean our air, but due to an 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.