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CONTENTS1 :WHAT IS ACID RAIN ?2 :DEFINITION3 :HOW DO WE MEASURE THE LEVEL OF ACID IN THE PRECIPITATION?4 :CAUSES OF ACID RAIN5 :CHEMICAL EQUATIONS6 :FORMATION OF ACID RAIN7 :AFFECTED AREAS8 :EFFECTS OF ACID RAIN ON TRESS , AQUATIC LIFE, BUILDINGS , VEGETATION AND HUMAN HEALTH9 :THE PROBLEM !10 :SOLUTIONS
WHAT IS ACID RAIN ?Acid Rain is the Precipitation that has a pH of lessthan that of natural rainwater (which is about 5.6due to dissolved carbon dioxide)It is formed when sulphur dioxides and nitrogenoxides, as gases or fine particles in the atmosphere,combine with water vapour and precipitate assulphuric acid or nitric acid in rain, snow, or fog.
DEFINITIONDictionary.comPrecipitation, as rain, snow, orsleet, containing relatively highconcentrations of acid-formingchemicals, as the pollutantsfrom coal smoke, chemicalmanufacturing, and smelting,that have been released into theatmosphere and combined withwater vapour: harmful to theenvironment.Britannica.comAny precipitation, including snow,that contains a heavy concentrationof sulphuric and nitric acids. This formof pollution is a seriousenvironmental problem in the largeurban and industrial areas of NorthAmerica, Europe, and Asia.Automobiles, certain industrialoperations, and electric power plantsthat burn fossil fuels emit the gasessulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxideinto the atmosphere, where theycombine with water vapour in cloudsto form sulphuric and nitric acids.US FED GOVT"Acid rain" is a broad term referringto a mixture of wet and drydeposition (deposited material) fromthe atmosphere containing higherthan normal amounts of nitric andsulphuric acids. The precursors, orchemical forerunners, of acid rainformation result from both naturalsources, such as volcanoes anddecaying vegetation, and man-madesources, primarily emissions ofsulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxidesresulting from fossil fuel combustion
HOW DO WE MEASURE THE LEVEL OFACID IN THE PRECIPITATION?pH tests determine how much hydrogen ionsin a litter of fluid, by using the pH scale we canmeasure acidity or alkalinity. We do the samepH tests in our pools and hot tubs. The scaleruns from 0 to 14 with water having a neutralpH of 7. The greater the concentration ofhydrogen ions the lower the pH number, themore acidic based the water is; the lower theconcentration of hydrogen ions and the higherthe pH number, the more alkaline based thewater is. So a pH greater than 7 tells us that itis an alkaline substance while a pH less than 7indicates an acidic substance. One unit of pHchange equals a 10 time change in the ofconcentration of hydrogen ions. Normal rainand snow measure about pH 5.60.
CAUSES OF ACID RAINNATURAL SOURCES : Emissions from volcanoes and frombiological processes that occur on the land, in wetlands, and inthe oceans contribute acid-producing gases to the atmosphereEffects of acidic deposits have been detected in glacial icethousands of years old in remote parts of the globeHUMAN SOURCES: The principal cause of acid rain is fromhuman sources Industrial factories, power-generating plantsand vehicles Sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen arereleased during the fuel burning process (i.e. combustion )
CHEMICAL EQUATIONSBoth sulphuric acid and nitric acid are soluble in water and are the major acids present inacid rain. As this forms and falls onto the Earths surface, these strong acids are alsobrought to the surface causing harmful effects on the built and the natural environment.Sulfur dioxide reacts with water to form sulfurous acid.SO2(g) + H2O(l) -> H2SO3(aq)Substances in the upper atmosphere then catalyze the reaction between sulfurous acidand oxygen to form sulfuric acid.2H2SO3(aq) + O2(g) -> 2H2SO4(aq)Similarly, nitrogen dioxide reacts with water to form a mixture of nitric acid and nitrousacid.2NO2(g) + H2O(l) -> HNO3(aq) + HNO2(aq)Substances in the atmosphere then catalyze the reaction between nitrous acid and oxygencausing the formation of more nitric acid.2HNO2(aq) + O2(g) -> 2HNO3(aq)
FORMATION OF ACID RAINFormation of Acid Rain When water vapour condenses, or as the rain falls, they dissolve in the water to formsulphuric acid (H2SO4) and nitric acid (HNO3). While the air in cleaned of the pollutants in this way, it alsocauses precipitation to become acidic, forming acid rain
AFFECTED AREASCanada: Acid rain is a problem in Canada . Water and soil systemslack natural alkalinity such as lime base Cannot neutralize acid .Industrial acid rain is a substantial problem in China, EasternEurope and Russia and areas down-wind from them.Acid rain from power plants in the Midwest United States has alsoharmed the forests of upstate New York and New England.This shows that the effects of acid rain can spread over a largearea, far from the source of the pollution
EFFECTS OF ACID RAINAcid rain is an extremely destructive form ofpollution, and the environment suffers from itseffects. Forests, trees, lakes, animals, and plantssuffer from acid rain.Trees : The needles and leaves of the trees turnbrown and fall off. Trees can also suffer fromstunted growth; and have damaged bark andleaves, which makes them vulnerable toweather, disease, and insects. All of this happenspartly because of direct contact between treesand acid rain, but it also happens when treesabsorb soil that has come into contact with acidrain. The soil poisons the tree with toxicsubstances that the rain has deposited into it.
EFFECTS ON AQUATIC LIFELakes are also damaged by acid rain. Fish dieoff, and that removes the main source offood for birds. Acid rain can even kill fishbefore they are born when the eggs are laidand come into contact with the acid.Fish usually die only when the acid level of alake is high; when the acid level is lower,they can become sick, suffer stunted growth,or lose their ability to reproduce.Also, birds can die from eating "toxic" fishand insects.
EFFECTS ON BUILDINGSAcid rain dissolves the stoneworkand mortar of buildings(especially those made out ofsandstone or limestone).It reactswith the minerals in the stone toform a powdery substance thatcan be washed away by rain.Accelerates weathering in metaland stones structures . Eg.Parthenon in Athens , Greeceand Taj Mahal in Agra , India .
HARMFUL TO VEGETATIONIncreased acidity in soil .Leeches nutrients from soil, slowing plant growth .Leeches toxins from soil, poisoning plants .Creates brown spots in leaves of trees, impedingphotosynthesis .Allows organisms to infect through broken leaves.
AFFECTS HUMAN HEALTHRespiratory problems, asthma, dry coughs,headaches and throat irritations.Leeching of toxins from the soil by acid rain canbe absorbed by plants and animals. Whenconsumed, these toxins affect humans severely.Brain damage, kidney problems, and Alzheimersdisease has been linked to people eating "toxic"animals/plants.Research carried out inNorth America in 1982,revealed that sulphurpollution killed 51,000people and about200,000 people becomeill as a result of thepollution.
THE PROBLEM!Acid rain can travel long distances.Often it doesn’t fall where the gas is produced. Highchimneys disperse (spread) the gases and winds blowthem great distances before they dissolve and fall toEarth as rain.Eg. gases produced in England and Western Europe canresult in acid rain in Scotland and Scandinavia.People probably couldnt live without electricity!Therefore coal will continue to be burnt. Also, electricityand energy are constantly being overused.
SOLUTIONSUse cleaner fuels ,Use Coal that contains less sulphur ."Washing" the coal to reduce sulphurcontent .Sulphur dioxide can be removed from power stations chimneys but this process is expensive.Remove oxides of sulphur and oxides of nitrogen before releasing Flue gas desulphurizationUse renewable energy like wind power, solar panels, tidal power, HEP schemes and geothermalenergy.Fit catalytic converters to vehicle exhausts which remove the nitrogen oxides.Limit the number of vehicles on the roads and increase public transport.Reducing the effects of Acid Rain Liming Powdered limestone/limewater added to water and soilto neutralize acid Used extensively in Norway and Sweden Expensive, short-term remedy