October 3, 2022

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What are they, how are they formed and what are the consequences

What is acid rain and how is it formed, exactly: we find out the origin of the phenomenon and its consequences for the environment.

Rain among the vegetation (Pixabay)

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Acid rain is called one Low pH rain, causes multiple environmental problems, as a result of emissions of sulfur dioxide and sulfur oxides that produce sulfuric acid and nitric acid in relation to water and water vapor. It is precisely the acidity of rain that can devour some surfaces, such as monuments and houses.

But what are the effects of this rain on the environment and on human life? It all depends on the pH, ie Acidity value of substance. The pH value ranges from 0, which is the maximum pH, to 14, which is the maximum basicity. Purified water has a value of 7, it is practically neutral. Normally, rain has a pH of 5.6 and is therefore slightly acidic, but in some cases it can reach pH 4. How does that happen?

How does acid rain happen and what does it mean for the environment

acid rain phenomenon
Rain in the City (Pixabay)

Such acid rain can be deadly to most fish, but what is the mechanism behind this phenomenon? As mentioned above, this is due to combination of two componentsReleased into the atmosphere: sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Once these gases are released into the air, they will find themselves in contact with water vapor.

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When in contact with water, these gases produce acids. Sulfuric acid and nitric acid are produced in the atmosphere. How much of these gases are produced naturally and how much is produced by human pollution? As Greenpeace points out, regarding sulfur dioxide, human activities account for about 60%, as opposed to natural 40%.

For nitrogen dioxide, on the other hand, the human incidence is variable and ranges from 20% to 50%. It is difficult to determine these values. Sulfur dioxide is mainly composed of coal and oil combustion. The countries that produce the largest amounts of sulfur dioxide are India, Russia and China.

How is the emission of these gases formed?

Acid rain damage environment
Thunderstorm in the city (Pixabay)

But sulfur dioxide emissions are caused not only by human activities, but also by volcanic activity. As for the emission of nitrogen oxides, the largest amount is produced in nature, we are talking about millions of tons every year. In this case, human labor accounts for only 20%.

What are the effects of acid rain on the environment? They are mainly observed in aquatic environments. Acid rain is not corrosive to our bodies, but it is harmful to homes and monuments, as well as fish and some plants. However, in a normal course, the harms are many.

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These low pH values ​​are unsustainable for fish, because they differ in the acidity of the water, and for forest plants, because acid metal melts, removing nutrients from vegetation. Where is acid rain concentrated? Especially in the more industrialized regions, such as the northern United States and southern China.

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