What is acid rain and effects on the environment

Acid rain is considered when it acquires a pH below 5.6, due to the formation of acidic substances that result from the emission of pollutants in the atmosphere, which can result from fires, burning of fossil fuels, volcanic eruptions, emission of toxic gases by industries or agricultural, forestry or livestock activities, for example.

Acid rain is a threat to the health of humans and animals, as it can cause and aggravate respiratory and eye problems, and also erodes monuments and building materials.

To reduce the acidity of the rains, one must reduce the emission of pollutants and invest in the use of less polluting energy sources.

How it forms

The rain results from the dissolution of pollutants in the atmosphere, at high altitudes, giving rise to acidic substances. The main pollutants that give rise to acid rain are sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, which give rise to sulfuric acid, nitric acid and carbonic acid, respectively.

These substances can result from fires, forestry, agricultural and livestock activities, burning fossil fuels and volcanic eruptions, and accumulate in the atmosphere for some time, and can be transported with the wind to other regions.

What are the consequences

In terms of health, acid rain can cause or aggravate respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis and eye problems, and can also cause conjunctivitis.

Acid rains accelerate the natural erosion of materials, such as historical monuments, metals, building materials for example. It affects various ecosystems, such as lakes, rivers and forests, changing the pH of water and soils, threatening human health.

How to reduce acid rain

To reduce the formation of acid rain, it is necessary to reduce the gases emitted to the atmosphere, purify the fuels before burning them and invest in less polluting energy sources, such as natural gas, hydroelectric energy, solar energy or energy wind power, for example.