What is Acid Rain? What are the Effects and Harms?

What is acid rain?

Acids are substances of hydrogen with water that produce hydrogen ions. Hydrogen ions make the solution acidic. Acids are solutions important that produce hydrogen ions (H+) when dissolved in water. Acid rain takes place when fossil fuel wastes mix with the natural water cycle.

Particularly in areas where industrialization is extreme and also nonrenewable fuel sources are used as power intake, gases having sulfur and also nitrogen build up in the ambience as a result of burning fossil fuels such as coal as well as oil. When these gases incorporate with water vapor in the air, a chain reaction happens. As a result of this response, sulfuric acid and also nitric acid droplets are created.

Sunshine increases the price of these reactions. When the waters on the earth are heated up by the result of the Sunlight, several of them vaporize and rise into the atmosphere. Therefore, the water vapor in the climbing moist air condenses as well as ends up being a fluid once again. These, subsequently, form clouds. The resulting rains, which have huge amounts of sulfur and also nitrogen, are called “acid rainfalls”.

The acid in the environment comes down to the earth not just via rainfalls, yet additionally through snow, haze, gases and also particles in the air. In this type of rain, the fragments can come to be put on hold in the haze or collect in the driest state. The pH worth of rainfalls created under regular conditions is 5.6. Precipitation with a worth below this value is called acid rain. Acid rain, especially after the commercial revolution, has begun to make its effects felt by the rapid accumulation of sulfur as well as nitrogen gases in the atmosphere.

How Does Acid Rain Form?

Acid rain is caused by the mixing of fossil fuel (coal, oil) wastes into the natural water cycle. occurs. As a result of combustion, gases containing nitrogen and sulfur are formed and these gases are combined with water vapor in the air. When combined, a chemical reaction occurs. As a result of this reaction, sulfuric acid and nitric acid acid drops are formed.

  • H2O+SO2  > H2SO4 (sulfuric acid)
  • H2O+NO2 > HNO3 (nitric acid)
  • SO2 + H2O > H2SO3 (sulfurous acid)

When the waters on the earth are heated by the effect of the Sun, some of them evaporate and rise into the atmosphere. The water vapor in the rising humid air condenses into a liquid state and acid rain with a pH value of 4.2-4.4 occurs.

Emissions causing acidification in the atmosphere

  • Sulfur Oxides ( SOx )
  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)

Sulfur Oxides (SOx)

The most common of the air pollutant emissions is sulfur dioxide (SO2). Every year, tons of SO2 is emitted from various sources and enters the atmosphere. The most important part of these emissions comes from thermal power plants that burn large amounts of sulphurous solid and liquid fuels to generate electricity.

Fossil fuels contain a small amount of sulfur in their structure. When these fuels burn, the sulfur also burns and the gas becomes SO2. In addition, volcanoes, swamps and seas also emit sulfur compounds into the air, such as sulfur emitted from chimneys, and these compounds turn into sulfuric acid and sulfate.

  • SO2+OH > HOSO2 > H2SO4

Nitrogen Oxides (Nox)

NOx compose a significant quantity of the complete lots of acid rainfall and also air pollution. Fifty percent of the amount of NOx in the ambience is from car exhaust and also the other half is from stationary burning plants. These gases get in the gas cycle in the atmosphere and also finish the chain reactions that lead to the formation of nitric acid (HNO3).

The most crucial are: laughing gas (N2O), nitrogen oxide (NO) as well as nitrogen dioxide (NO2). NO as well as NO2 types are extra common in city locations. The resource of nitrogen oxides is making use of all fossil fuels both in nuclear power plant as well as in automobiles such as vehicles, buses as well as vehicles. To put it simply, the source of nitrogen oxides is more typical than sulfur dioxide.

In a study performed in Denmark recently, it has been figured out that when the heavy steam formed as a result of ammonia evaporation is exposed to solar radiation, its contribution to the formation of nitric acid in the environment can not be overlooked. Thanks to the nitrifying bacteria and also oxygen in the soil, water containers and also lakes, when ammonium nitrite becomes acid, it boosts the acidity of the rain 4 times.

Sources of emissions that cause acid rain

Natural sources: Volcanoes are the most important source of gases that cause acid rain in nature. Volcanoes also increase the amount of gases such as SO2 and CO2 in the air. Some creatures living on land, in swamps and in the ocean also emit glacial gases as a result of these biological processes.

Human activities:

Factories and motor vehicles

Coal used in thermal power plants, heating and industrial institutions emits ash (cadmium, lead), CO2 and SO2 into the atmosphere.

Unconscious and wrong spraying in agriculture, chlorofluorocarbons used in various products cause environmental pollution, and these pollution cause acid rain.

It has been revealed that the amount of harmful emissions created by humans in the air is higher than the emissions created by other natural sources.

History of Acid Rain

Acid rain, especially after the Industrial Revolution, started to make its effects felt by the rapid accumulation of sulfur and nitrogen gases in the atmosphere.

First, in 1852, in England, the cradle of industry, a scientist named Robert Angus Smith noticed the relationship between acid rain and air pollution and revealed that industry triggers these precipitations.

However, this event did not attract the attention of the scientific community until the 1960s. These precipitations do not only affect the region where they occur. Acid rain has become a serious problem in places such as the People’s Republic of China, Eastern Europe, Russia and where the wind carries the clouds from these countries and leaves rain. The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 with the participation of 160 countries, and according to this protocol, each country has to reduce its nitrogen and carbon emissions to 1990 levels.

However, the People’s Republic of China does not favor this protocol. Nitrogen and sulfur gases emitted from China are sent to Japan as a result of atmospheric movements. precipitation falls as rain and Japanese agriculture suffers from these precipitations. That’s why Japan gives chimney filters for factories to China free of charge every year. One of the main reasons for the emergence of acid rain as an international problem is the widespread practice of building tall chimneys to purify the air of cities from SO2 in the 1960s.

High chimneys built to reduce local pollution contributed to the spread of acid rains as they carried the smoke to the moving band of the atmosphere. The places that have suffered the most from acid rain have been the high-altitude mountains, far from the source of the pollution.

Since it is necessary to prevent the rain from touching our body, it is necessary to use an umbrella. Protectors other than an umbrella may also be helpful to prevent skin contact.

Acid rains occur in industrial cities, where there is a lot of carbon dioxide, where there is no air flow. The best example of this in our country is Manisa. A United Nations report states that 25% of trees in England are caused by acid rain. and that this rate is increasing.

What are the Effects of Acid Rain?

Effects of Acid Rain on the Environment

Acid rain damages the entire environment, but forests and agricultural areas are the most affected.

Acid rain affects the chemical structure and biological conditions of the soil. It washes the elements such as calcium and magnesium in the soil structure and carries them to the ground water, causing the soil to weaken and agricultural productivity to decrease.

It causes the aluminum in the soil to dissolve and prevents the tree roots from benefiting from nutrients, as a result of which the trees can dry out. It damages historical artifacts made of marble, sandstone or lime and containing calcium carbonate.

In addition, exposed metal surfaces, paint coatings and some plastics deteriorate due to sulfur dioxide and this acid diluted by precipitation.

Acid rain falling into lakes and streams disrupts the acid balance in the water. One of the indirect but also very important effects of acidification on the environment is acid moisture, which is formed as a result of industrial activities. They can react with toxic substances such as mercury, cadmium or aluminum that have landed in the soil or lake beds, and these substances, which are considered insoluble under normal conditions, reach plants, animals and humans through the food chain or drinking water as a result of the reaction with acidic moisture and cause toxic effects.

Effects of Acid Rain on Human Health

Research presented by various groups at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European Regional Meeting in Berlin in July 1984 revealed interesting results on the effects of acid rain on human health. As a result of these studies, two types of effects of acid storage on human health, direct and indirect, were determined.

Studies to date have not yet determined a direct effect of acid storage on humans.

However, its direct effects on the skin, eyes and respiratory system are remarkable. In researches on human and rabbit subjects in acidified lake waters up to pH 4.6, certain effects were determined, and eye irritation and redness occurred at values ​​lower than pH 4.

Acidic particles are usually formed by the dispersion of sulfur dioxide and nitric oxides in the atmosphere. The resulting nitric and sulfuric acid adheres to other particles (dust, soot, soot, smoke, etc.). Direct inhalation of these particles causes these acidic structures to go directly to the lungs. These acidic dusts and gases can chemically pass into the blood in the humid and warm lung alveoli. They can cause various diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, cancer.

The indirect effects of acid rain on humans are that it causes acidic storage in the human body in the long term as a result of the use of these elements, depending on the effects on surface and drinking water, groundwater, soil, heavy metals, plants and fish. Acid rain falling into lakes and streams disrupts the acid balance in the water and affects fish. The fact that fish are affected by this situation also affects us through the food chain.

How Do We Prevent Acid Rains?

First of all, measures should be taken to reduce air pollution in places where population, industry and traffic are dense.

Because;

  • Forests and green areas should be protected, expanded and developed.
  • Infrastructure and infrastructure such as subway, ring roads, underpass that will reduce the traffic density in urban transportation. Public transport systems should be expanded.
  • In order to burn high quality and clean lignite in our big cities where air pollution is intense,
    necessary measures should be taken.
  • Increasing the use of natural gas in urban heating and intense air pollution Natural gas should be brought to our provinces.
  • Filters should be installed in the chimneys of industrial facilities.
  • Instead of thermal power plants used in energy production, renewable energy sources its use should be expanded. (Solar Energy, Geothermal Energy, Wind Energy etc.)
  • Sulfur content in fuels should be reduced;
  • Scientists, especially coal-fired power plants, sulfur dioxide the use of coals containing less sulfur to reduce emissions mineral matter reduction, flue gas desulphurisation plants and coal burning make suggestions such as changes in methods.
  • Vehicles should be maintained on time. Thus, with periodic inspections, combustion Vehicle emissions can be reduced by removing defects.
  • Emission control of motor vehicles; motor vehicle with the improvement of fuel quality It can be achieved by increasing the performance and by expanding the use of unleaded gasoline. Also the last In recent years, the production of green cars with low CO2 emissions has started to gain weight.

What Can We Do?

  • In order to prevent acid rain or to minimize its damage, We have responsibilities as
  • Since we know the environmental pollution and the problems related to acid rains, we can use this information in our environment. We should also share it with people and remind us that we can do something about it.
  • One of the most important issues that we can contribute individually is energy savings.
  • When not in use, turn off lights, our computer, television, video games, and other We can turn off our electrical appliances.
  • We can choose devices that consume less energy, energy-saving light bulbs, air conditioners, water heaters.

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