You must be thinking that acid rain is a very boring topic that only scientists need to know, but really, it’s not. The name "acid rain" is not overly exaggerated because the rain is actually acidic. Fun fact: Acid rain can’t burn your skin! The stronger acid rains will burn if they happen to touch your skin, although the normal acid rain will not. It can, however, damage your skin, so always remember to hurry and take shelter if the rain you are experiencing just happens to be acid rain.
What causes acid rain?
The formation of acid rain is a very simple process! The factories that we created to make our lives easier are contaminating the air that we breathe. And when this contaminated air reacts with water, oxygen, water vapour, and various other chemicals, it becomes somewhat sulfuric and nitric acid. Then, it just goes through the normal process of rain, i.e., condensation and precipitation. But there is a catch. The rain that falls is not normal rain; in reality, it’s acidic!
Are there any good reasons for you to think about reducing this?
When you think about it, acid rain may not be harmful to humans, but it can be harmful to almost everything around us. For example, trees. Acid rain that leaks into the soil can dissolve some crucial nutrients that the trees need to grow. Some of these nutrients include magnesium and calcium, both crucial nutrients that trees need to grow and be healthy.
Another example may be fresh water. As many of you, readers may know, the amount of freshwater on our planet is very scarce. Of all the freshwater on Earth, less than 3% of the total is freshwater, whereas 97% of it is salt water. Therefore, the 3% of remaining freshwater is further decreased when acid rain contaminates lakes, ponds, rivers, etc. Primarily, the amount of freshwater we have is already in short supply, and acid rain is just going to shorten our supply to a greater extent.
What can we do to reduce this problematic rain?
If you have read this far, you may be wondering how to stop acid rain and all its effects. Well, if you did happen to think of that, I have some good news for you. There are many ways to reduce and, in the future, permanently stop acid rain from happening. We can produce energy from renewable sources such as solar energy and wind power instead of burning fossil fuels. Another way is to reduce the amount of sulphur dioxide released from coal burning in factories and power plants. Scientists have proved that this can be done easily by washing the coal in water. Yes! Just normal water. A majority of the power plants around the world are now washing coal before burning it to reduce the number of nitrogen oxides—gases created in the process of burning coal and other fossil fuels—in our atmosphere. Mentioned here are just a few ways among a wide variety.
In conclusion, although acid rain may sound boring, it is anything but. It can be very interesting, but also very harmful! Although it doesn't burn your skin on contact, it can leak into the soil and dissolve crucial nutrients for the trees to grow. It can also contaminate the air that we breathe and make it acidic. There are so many ways to reduce it, including simple processes like producing energy from renewable resources such as wind and solar energy instead of burning fossil fuels, or by washing coal before using it to reduce the amount of sulphur dioxide produced from it. We all need to do whatever we can to stop the subtle but deadly acid rain from contaminating our world.
- How Acid Rain Is Produced - Ferrovial. (n.d.). Ferrovial. https://www.ferrovial.com/en/resources/how-acid-rain-is-produced/
- Acid Rain Students Site: Why is acid rain harmful? (n.d.). Acid Rain Students Site: Why Is Acid Rain Harmful? https://www3.epa.gov/acidrain/education/site_students/whyharmful.html
- Acid Rain Students Site: What causes acid rain? (n.d.). Acid Rain Students Site: What Causes Acid Rain? https://www3.epa.gov/acidrain/education/site_students/whatcauses.html
Zoya is a 12-year-old girl from Addu City, Seenu Meedhoo, Maldives. She currently lives in Male’ city and studies at Iskandhar School. Zoya has a passion for both sports and technology. She enjoys playing basketball and netball and hopes to make the Maldives national teams in both. When she is not at a sports practice, she could be found playing her favourite online video game or creating a website. Although she is very busy, she finds time to spend with her family and friends.