What is Acid Rain?
Acid rain fall is associated with atmospheric pollution. Sulphur-di-oxide and Nitrous Oxide are released from automobiles, petrochemical industries and thermal power plants due to combustion and use of fossil fuels.
These gases dissolve in clouds to form Sulphuric Acid and Nitric Acid. The precipitation from such clouds is acidic in nature and its pH values ranges between 4.5 to 5.5.
Acidic precipitation is more common during winters as smoke gets trapped in the lower atmosphere.
What are the effects of Acid Rain?
1) On Human Health– Acid rain causes skin allergies, respiratory allergies, baldness etc.
2) On Soil and Agriculture– As soil becomes acidic due to acid rain, its fertility declines, as microorganisms which are involved in paedogenesis (soil formation) are killed due to high soil acidity. With decline in soil fertility, agricultural productivity declines.
Farmers are required to use salts and bases to neutralize acidity of soil which in turn increases the cost of agricultural production.
3) On Water Bodies– Acid rainfall pollutes water bodies like rivers, lakes etc. which makes the water unfit for drinking, industrial and agricultural purposes.
Bio-production from aquatic bodies decline, particularly of fishes due to increased acidity of water body. In acidic water, eggs of fishes are not appropriately developed and hence fish production (pisciculture) suffers.
Acidic rainfall is particularly harmful for coral reefs which are made up of calcareous rocks. Acidic rainfall causes coral bleaching. Increased acidity results in the breakdown of symbiotic relationship of coral polyps and algae which help in growth of coral reefs.
4) On Monuments and Infrastructure– Acidic rainfall adversely effects monuments made up of sandstone and marble. Marble structure like Taj Mahal, Humayun Tomb are highly vulnerable.