We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. For more details, see our Privacy Policy. Nitric and sulfuric acid can be transported to the Earth from rain but also via snow, sleet, hail, fog, mist, clouds, and dust clouds. Acid rain has also been found to damage frogs, toads and reptiles in aquatic ecosystems. The governments of all the nations needs to take notice, and do much more than what they are already doing. Acid rain precipitation that forms when acids—typically nitric acid and sulfuric acid—are released from the atmosphere into precipitation. PH naturally runs from zero to 14 with zero being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. When acid rain falls upon an ecosystem, it affects the water supply as well as the plants and animals in that area. Over a period of time, acids get accumulated in the water and lower the overall pH of the water body. Acid rain may feel like a huge problem, but there are actually many things that you can do as an individual to help prevent it. When fish die, there is no more food for birds such as ospreys and eagles. 1. In the United States, fossil-fuel combustion is the primary cause of acid rain. Since 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency has required companies that emit these two chemicals (namely, companies that burn fossil fuels for the production of electricity,) to make major reductions in their emissions. In aquatic ecosystems, acid rain can harm fish, insects and other aquatic animals. Natural causes include volcanoes, lightning and decaying plant and animal matter. This drastically alters the biodiversity, food webs and overall health of the aquatic environment. Any step you can take to conserve energy will reduce the amounts of fossil fuels that are burned to produce that energy, thereby reducing the formation of acid rain. Plants are also directly damaged when acid rain falls on their leaves. Thinner shells mean that fewer chicks will hatch and survive. Acid rain can be equally damaging to land-based ecosystems. Information about the device's operating system, Information about other identifiers assigned to the device, The IP address from which the device accesses a client's website or mobile application, Information about the user's activity on that device, including web pages and mobile apps visited or used, Information about the geographic location of the device when it accesses a website or mobile application. Acid rain either falls directly on aquatic bodies or gets run off the forests, roads and fields to flow into streams, rivers and lakes. Clean up Smokestacks and Exhaust Pipes. Avoid using your car whenever possible. Now, let’s talk about some established measures that we can take to help prevent acidic rain. Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas releases about two-thirds of all of the sulfuric dioxide and one-quarter of all of the nitrous oxide that is found in our air. Jenn Savedge is an environmental author and lecturer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, "Acid rain has been implicated in forest and soil degradation in many areas of the eastern U.S., particularly high elevation forests of the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia that include areas such as the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks.". You'll be helping the environment by preventing acid rain [source: National Geographic]. Acid rain has been linked to thinner eggshells in many bird species such as warblers and other songbirds. This causes precipitation with pH levels that are lower than normal. That affects many animals outside of the water, too. Acid rain is a serious environmental problem occurring all over the world, particularly in large swaths of the United States and Canada. Effect on Aquatic Environment. How can you conserve energy? Reduce amount of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen released into the atmosphere i. We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Some of these could seem a hassle and tiresome, but you gotta act responsible, don’t you? The term acid rain is also somewhat misleading. Acid rain is predominantly caused by humans' impact on the planet, but there are some natural sources as well. Alternative fuels An excellent way to prevent acid rain is to stop using nonrenewable fuels and switch over to renewable sources of energy, such as solar, wind and water energy. When birds eat fish that have been damaged by acid rain, they too can become poisoned. But more often than not, they follow the prevailing winds and blow hundreds of miles away before they return to the surface via acid rain. Lowered pH levels can kill many adult fish, and most fish eggs will not hatch when the pH drops below normal. Is it just harmful to the environment, or can acid rain kill you? Acid rain has significant effects on the world environment and public health. While natural phenomena like volcanic eruptions can account for some acid deposition, the major cause is fossil fuel consumption, which we use for things like energy generation, heating, and transportation. ADVERTISEMENTS: Some of the major procedures that must be followed to control acid rain are as follows: The phenomenon of acid rain is highly interactive problem and remedial measures to control it are very expensive. Acid rain is … This is about one-half of the emissions that were emitted from the power sector in 1980. As the name suggests, it indicates precipitation that is more acidic than normal. Acid rain has existed since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution which also marked the start of various factories. Acid rain is actually a type of acid deposition. Acid rain is one of the biggest environmental hazards that we are facing today, and strong measures must be taken to prevent it, before it is too late. 1. For starters, it drastically changes the chemistry of the soil, lowering the pH and creating an environment where essential nutrients are leached away from the plants that need them. Acid rain is a serious environmental problem occurring all over the world, particularly in large swaths of the United States and Canada. Use less energy (hence less […] It is harmful not only to lakes, streams, and ponds in an area but also to the plants and animals that live within the given ecosystem. These acids can combine with precipitation directly over their source. You can opt-out at any time. Purchase energy-saving appliances; carpool, use public transportation, walk, or bike whenever possible; keep your thermostat low in the winter and high in the summer; insulate your house; and turn off lights, computers, and appliances when you're not using them. Weird & Wacky, Copyright © 2020 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company. A PH reading of seven is considered to be neutral on the PH scale. Ways to Prevent Acid Rain. How Does Nitrogen Oxide Pollution Affect the Environment? Greenhouse Gas Effect on the Economy and You, How the Sixth Mass Extinction Affects the U.S. Economy. How to Prevent Acid Rain. The EPA's Acid Rain Program was phased in from 1990 to 2010 with the final sulfuric dioxide cap set at 8.95 million tons for 2010.