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Acid Rain Essay

1962 words - 8 pages

INTRODUCTION
The term acid rain refers to the process of deposition or precipitation of hydrogen ions with a pH value below 5.0, in the atmosphere. These acidic substances are produced by the pollutants on the earth that are airborne. These acidic precipitates will pour down as water droplets along with normal rain water whose pH lie between 5.0 and 5.6 creating hazardous effects on the living organisms of earth.
HISTORY
The cause of acid rain is mainly due to industrial pollutants. Acid rain was first reported during the Industrial Revolution in England in 1852.A Scottish chemist by name Robert Angus Smith discovered the same. [Briney A, 2001]However the term ‘Acid Rain’ was coined in the year 1972 by the scientist in his book,”Air and Rain: The Beginnings of Chemical Climatology “.Awareness towards acid rain started to increase rapidly among people from then on. In today’s date even a small kid is taught about acid rain and made to understand the importance of preserving the environment from pollution.
ACID RAIN FORMATION
Air is polluted by both natural and artificial sources. The major contributors of acid rain are the oxides of sulphur and oxides of nitrogen. These oxides released through pollutants settle in the atmosphere. They then combine with the moisture in the atmosphere to form acid rain. The acid rain thus collected in the cloud gets released along with the raindrops of normal water thereby forming acid rain [J.N.B Bell, 1981] .The rain water that pours down will obviously contain the most harmful sulphuric acid and nitric acid. The effects created by this acid rain unimaginable. They just burn the living being alive in seconds creating a permanent destruction to the earth.
CAUSES
As seen earlier, the major contributors of acid rain are oxides of nitrogen and sulphur. The sources of nitrogen oxide emission are from combustion of fuels by vehicles and the burning of fossil fuels. Coal on burning will release oxides of sulphur to the atmosphere since it contains 2-3% of sulphur in it. Electrical companies which burn coal for the industrial purpose contribute highly to the emission of sulphur oxide. The companies which process ores containing sulphur to obtain various metals like nickel, copper, zinc etc. also contribute highly to the emission of sulphur oxide [Lane C, 2003].
These being the man made sources, some natural sources like organic decay, volcanic eruptions, lighting and forest fire serve as a cause of emission of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen. These things are unavoidable. However it has been identified that about 90-95% of the contribution of acid precipitation is through man-made resources. Industrial and automobile pollution can be considered as the root cause of acid rain. In the earlier days animals like camel, ass and bullocks were used for transportation. But with the advancement of technology almost everyone use a motor vehicle (some use more than one) and obviously the amount of fossil fuels combusted has...

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