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Acid Rain : What Is Acid Rain?

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What Is Acid Rain?

In common parlance, acid rain is just what the words man – rainfall that is acidic in nature. However, in scientific terms it has a winder connotation. So, what is acid rain? Any way by which acid falls out of the atmosphere is considered to be acid rain. It can be dry or wet. Acidic gases or particles are referred to as dry deposition, whereas acid rain, snow and fog constitute the wet deposition. Be it particles, snow or gases, they can be termed as acidic if only they have a higher concentration of hydrogen ions (i.e. pH of less than 4) than usual. But what causes acid rain ad what are its effects on our planet? Let’s consider this environmental issue that has become a serious concern for environmentalists the world over.

What Causes Acid Rain?

Sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are the gases that cause acid rain to form. These gases can rise high above into the atmosphere. Here they combine with water vapor, oxygen and other chemicals to form acid rain.

Human activity is the main cause of acid rain. Burning of fossil fuels is the primary source of these gases. With increase in industrialization and number of vehicles running on the roads, fumes that contain these gases are being added to the atmosphere at such a rate that the excess of these gases can’t be neutralized by natural process. For example, combustion of fossil fuel in vehicles and industries like iron and steel, processing of crude oil and utility factories contribute to more than 70%
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