Acid Rain


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Descriptionand Sources of Acid Precipitation

Acidrain defines a mixture of atmospherically deposited material, bothdry and wet holding excessive quantities of sulfuric and nitricacids. In other words, it is rain that is acidic in nature because ofthe presence of air pollutants discharged by motor vehicles andindustries[ CITATION Par13 l 1033 ].Acid precipitation iseasily demarcated as rain, sleet, fog, or snow acidified by airpollutants from industrial and fossil fuel combustions, which areemitting Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxides. While normal rainwaterhas its acidity ranging between pH of 5.3 and 6.0, acidic rain hasits acidity falling below this range[ CITATION Cec15 l 1033 ].The reaction between these gases with oxygen and water moleculesfound in the atmosphere results in the formation of mild acidicchemical compounds such as nitric and sulfuric acid forming an acidrain.

Acidprecipitation originates from sources that are both man-made andnatural. However, its major cause is fossil fuel combustion, whichreleases nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide. Volcanic emissions that,radiate acid producing-gases, remain the major natural causativeagent for acid precipitation e.g. snow and fog[ CITATION Par13 l 1033 ].Similarly, decaying wildlife, vegetation, and biological processeswithin the ecosystem also generate gases responsible for acid rain.Man-madesources such as automobiles, factories, and power generationfacilities, such as coal, emit nitrogen and sulfur gases that in turnpollutes the air leading to acid rain formation.

Acidprecipitation may both be non-point and point source pollution. It ispoint source as it can originate from a factory however, non-pointbecause it can mix with runoff and rain, my home slice.

HarmfulImpacts of Acid Precipitation

Incities and towns, tiny particles released by diesel engines fromautomobiles enter the human body upon breathing in, causing breathingcomplications, and eventually cancer. Likewise, drinking from tapscontaining acid rain damages the brain. Acid rain as well accumulatesin water lowering its overall pH below the average needed for thesurvival of aquatic life. The fall makes the conditions more hostilefor the survival of the aquatic ecosystem. For instance, when pHlevels fall below five, most fish eggs fail to hatch [ CITATION Cec151 l 1033 ]andat the same time, adult fish dies. Species comprising of plant, fish,and insect types in some rivers, lakes, and Brooks have beeneradicated owing to extra acid rain getting their way into thewaters. Nevertheless, acid precipitation makes trees and other plantsvulnerable to extreme weather, disease, and insects by damaging theirbark, destroying their leaves, and arresting their growth.


Mostgovernments and other environment conservers have placed regulationsthat restrict people to washing coal, using low sulfur coal, andusing devices scrubbers to provide technical solution to SulphurDioxide emissions. Scrubbing has so far managed to chemically removeSulphur Dioxide from the fumes leaving smokestacks[ CITATION Par13 l 1033 ].The program has been effective in controlling pollution,as it is capable of eliminating up to 94.5 percent of Sulphur Dioxidegases. Besides, power generation facilities have been shifted tousing fuels such as natural gas, which emit much less Sulphur Dioxideas an alternative to burning coal. These approaches are simplestrategies for reducing emission.

Likewise,Nitrogen Oxides discharges from automobile breaking down fossil fuelare mitigated by the use of the technology described as catalyticconverters fixed on the exhaust pipe to diminish Nitrogen Oxidesemission[ CITATION Cec152 l 1033 ].Finally, upgrading of gasoline capable of combusting cleaner is yetanother approach to reducing Nitrogen Oxides gases emission.


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Park, C. C. (2013). Acid Rain (Routledge Revivals): Rhetoric and Reality. Routledge. Retrieved from