What is Acid Rain? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about acid rain.

  • Acid rain is rain or other precipitation that has a high amount of hydrogen ions in it. It can be harmful to animals and plants and the environment in general.
  • It is caused by the emissions of the chemicals nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide. The chemicals produce acids when they react with the water molecules in the atmosphere.

  • It is also caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Decreasing factory smoke, running vehicles on ‘cleaner’ fuel and using air conditioners sparingly can minimize the effects.
  • The problem was first taken seriously in Scandinavia during the late 1950s. It was noticed that pollution was being blown by the wind and that the resulting acid rain was affecting Britain and other parts of Europe.
  • Forests, especially those at higher altitudes, can be damaged by acid rain as it removes nutrients from the soil.
  • It is also possible to have acid snow, fog or dust. Areas with a lot of acid rain are often hazy or foggy.
  • The lungs of a healthy person can be damaged by acid rain. It has been connected to lung problems and breathing problems in small children, especially those with asthma.
  • Europe and North America are the areas most affected by acid rain. An estimated 70 percent of the forests in the Czech Republic have been affected by pollution from nearby countries.
  • This type of harmful rain can also damage buildings and statues. Buildings made from limestone are especially affected because limestone is easily eroded.