Acid Rain Causes Impacts And Prevention Techniques

what is Acid Rain

Acid rain or acid precipitation is defined as the rain which has a lower pH level then slandered rain pH level. 

Normally clean and safe rain contain pH level between 5.0 to 5.5 which is slightly acidic in nature however it can be acidic due to the mixing of harmful acidic constituents.

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the USA, harmful Acid rain contains pH level below than 4.4.

In a broad sense, the term acidic rain or acidic precipitation includes any form of precipitation with acidic nature compounds like nitric acid, sulfuric acid, carbonic acid, which comes from atmosphere to the ground either in dry or wet forms.

The wet forms of acidic rain contain acidic rain, acidic snow, and acidic fog, etc.

Also, the dry forms of acidic rain contain acidify gases and acidic dust particles.

acid precipitation
Acid rain

 Causes of Acid Rain

Acid rain or acid precipitation occurs when the harmful compounds of Sulfur (SOx) and nitrogen (NOx), mix with the atmosphere by the help of wind (Air) and react with water vapors, oxygen and other harmful chemicals to forms sulfuric and nitric acid.


 Formation of sulfuric acid (H2SO4).

Stage No:1

Sulfur dioxide reacts with the water vapors and forms sulfurous acid.

SO2(g) + H2O(l) -> H2SO3(aq)

Stage No:2

Sulfurous acid further reacts with the atmospheric oxygen with presence of catalyst.

2H2SO3(aq) + O2(g) -> 2H2SO4(aq)

Formation of nitric acid (HNO3).

Stage No:1

Similarly, nitrogen dioxide reacts with water and form nitrous acid.

2NO2(g) + H2O(l) -> HNO3(aq) + HNO2(aq)

Stage No:2

Further, nitrous acid reacts with the atmospheric oxygen in the presence of a catalyst and convert in nitric acid.

2HNO2(aq) + O2(g) -> 2HNO3(aq) 

The major sources of SOx and NOx in the atmosphere

There the number of major sources for the emissions of sulfur and nitrogen compound some of these categorize as under.

The burning of fossil fuels

The burning of fossil fuels is the major cause of sulfur and nitrogen compounds because most of the fossil fuel contains several amounts of sulfur and nitrogen.

As these fossil fuels burn including coal, petroleum and natural gas they emit tremendous amounts of sulfur and nitrogen compounds in result acid rain is formed.


Also, the vehicle’s like automobiles, motorbikes, trucks, etc. emit some amount of sulfur and nitrogen compounds.

Industrial sectors

Industrial sectors are the major source of harmful compounds of sulfur and nitrogen.

Most specifically oil refineries, steel mills, and plastic making industries emit these harmful compounds.

Power plants

Electrical generation power plants are also the major source of the SOx and NOx compounds because at the power plants the electricity is generated by the burning of fossil fuels like Coal, Petroleum and Natural gas.

 Natural Causes of Acid Rain

Natural sources of acid rain are very small as compared to the anthropogenic activities.

Also, Natural sources emit less number of acidic compounds as compared to the anthropogenic activities.

There are the following natural sources of acid rain.

Volcanic eruption

Volcanic eruption somehow emits the acidic gases like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which will also produce acidic rain.

Biological process and wildfires

Wildfires and biological processes are also responsible for acidic Rain.

Wildfires emit the acidic compounds due to the burning process.

The biological process also produces some percentage of dimethyl sulfides which will be responsible for producing acid rain.

Effects of Acid Rain

There is a number of harmful effects of acid on human as well as environment.

Some of these listed as under.

Effects Acid Rain on wild and Aquatic life 

  • Acid precipitations may disrupt aquatic life because when acidic rain mix-up with the water bodies it will produce acidity in the water bodies (water pollution), in result aquatic species may face several diseases
  • Acid precipitation may produce several diseases in wildlife because some animals are very sensitive they can’t sustain the dangerous acid.
  • Flora and fauna may vanish.
  • Some animals may migrate from one place to another place due to the changing in earth’s structure. As we know the earth is the house of several animals if the structure of earth changed they may migrate from one place to another place.
  • Acid precipitation may destroy food of both aquatic species and wild animals.

Effects of Acid Rain on Human life

Acid rain
Effects on poor animals

  • Acid rain may produce respiratory diseases
  • Acid precipitation may affect human skin and produce several diseases like pimples, skin cancer, rashes, etc.
  • It will also produce heart diseases.
  • It can cause hair loss problems.

Effects of Acid Precipitation on plants and vegetations

  • Acid precipitation effects on the growth of the plants.
  • Acid rain may destroy the vegetable
  • It Can destroy the leaves of trees or it can change the color of leaves
  • It may produce negative impacts on the roots of trees and plants
  • Acid rain may produce aluminum at the roots of trees and plants which is very harmful to plants and trees.
  • It can destroy the nutrition’s of trees and plants

Effects of acid rain on Buildings Materials

  •      Acid precipitation may destroy the buildings material due to acid presence.
  •     It may produce corrosion to the metals of buildings.
  •     Increase the maintenance cost of buildings.

Prevention of Acid Rain

Acid rain can be control by adopting some techniques as follows. Reduce the use of fossil fuel try to switch on renewable sources like Wind energy, Solar Energy, Biomass Energy, and Hydro energy.

  •   Reduce the use of Automobiles avoid driving long without any aim
  •   Switch your powerplants to renewable energy
  •   Avoid those activities which emit NOx and SOx.
  •   Try to maintain your vehicles time to time in order to reduce emissions.
  •   Remove sulfur and nitrogen content from fossil fuels before use.
  •  Avoid using electricity without any Aim.
  •  Industrial sector should be far away from residential areas.
  •  Reduce the use of air conditions
  •  Install dust collection system in power plants




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