acid rain, also known as “acid deposition”, is something we all have heard about, but it is common to not fully understand what it means. Astringent precipitation is simply rain, but with a higher concentration of acidity, meaning a lower pH value. You see, all rain has a slight level of acidity as a result of mixing with naturally occurring oxides in the air.
PH values range on a scale from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. Normal rain has a pH level between 5 and 7, making it either slightly acidic, slightly alkaline, or neutral. High acetic rain measures in at pH levels between 2 and 4. The most astringent rain ever recorded had a pH value of 2, which is similar to your household vinegar or lemon juice, which has pH values between 2.2 and 2.3.
What Causes it?
Acid rain is caused by air pollution resulting from burning coal and other fossil fuels, and the subsequent chemical production from those processes. Factories, power stations, and motor vehicles are a large contributor to this type of air pollution. Gases like nitrogen oxides and Sulphur dioxide are produced from air pollution; and when they mix with droplets of water in clouds, it forms sulphuric and nitric acids. When rain falls from these clouds, it is higher astringent rain.
How Does it Affect the Environment?
It is suggested by scientist and researchers that acid rain dissolves essential minerals and nutrients in soil before trees and plants can use them. It is thought that as a result, forests and aquatic environments are declining in various parts of the world. More studies are still being conducted on the connection between forest/aquatic decline and acetic rain, in various parts of the world.
Will it Hurt You?
Astringent rain cannot hurt humans or animals, directly. Since higher acidity rain has pH levels similar to your everyday household vinegar or lemon juice, it will not burn your skin or harm you. Likewise, it will not burn or harm animals or pets either. Indirectly, the pollutants that cause sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) formation in our air can be bad for our health, especially for those who suffer from heart and lung disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis.
Will it Damage Gardens?
Higher acidity rain can slow the growth and production of plants, trees, and more since it limits the amount of nutrients and minerals they get from the soil. However, the chances of acid rain affecting your spring and summer gardens this year are very unlikely. The effects of acid rain take a considerable amount of time, and a considerable amount of high-acetic precipitation.
Can You Drink it?
In very small doses, acid rain will not likely harm you. In fact, most drinking water is rarely neutral since it contains a nominal amount of dissolved minerals. Furthermore, all rain is naturally acetic, with an average pH around 5.6 or so. Truly acidic rain that you cannot drink because it will harm you can only be found in extreme environments, like at the mouth of an active volcano; so drinking acid rain is not a serious or necessary concern.
How Can We Stop it?
It is not likely that we can stop high acetic rain altogether, however, we could greatly reduce it by producing energy without burning or using fossil fuels. Using renewable energy sources like solar power and wind power are highly effective initiatives for reducing air pollution and harmful residual chemical production.