Acid Rain – Causes, Effects, and Solutions

acid rain


Acid Rain: It is defined as precipitation that has an acidic pH range. In simple terms, it can be described as a high level of hydrogen ions in the rain that makes it acidic. This type of rain is hazardous for aquatic life, plants, animals, infrastructure, etc.

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Acid rain is an outcome of a chemical reaction among pollutants in the atmosphere. Chemical compounds like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide are present in the air where they travel up in the atmosphere and react with oxygen, water, and other pollutants and result in acidic rain.

The air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide are emitted into the air from various sources. The key sources are vehicle emissions, coal-fired power plants, fossil fuel combustion, oil refineries, etc.


Acid rain shows negative impacts on infrastructure, humans, animals, soil, the ocean, etc. The common effects of acid rain are listed below.

1. Forest Cover: Acid rain affects growing plants. Forest cover is severely damaged by acid rains.

2. Human Health: Acid rain doesn’t have a direct effect on humans however the air pollutants can cause respiratory diseases.

3. Animal Life: Aquatic life gets extremely disturbed by the acidic nature of water bodies.

4. Infrastructure: Acid rain has damaging effects on infrastructure. Wall paints and building materials get deteriorated by acid rains.

5. Soil Health: Acid rain results in soil acidification. It hinders plant growth and affects soil biota ultimately leading to land degradation.

6. Coastal Areas: Acid rain has negative effects on coastal areas. It causes ocean acidification and also responsible for the erosion of coasts.


There are various ways by which the impacts of acid rain can be reduced. Solutions to acid rain also include protocols and regulations. Few solutions have been mentioned below.

1. Renewable Energy Source: One solution is to reduce the emission of air pollutants that result in acid rain. This is possible if nonrenewable energy sources are replaced with renewable energy sources.

2. Eco-Friendly Transport: Eco-friendly transport can help in reducing the emission of air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

3. Air Pollution Controlling Equipments: Coal-fired power plants are major sources that release sulfur dioxide. Air pollution controlling equipment such as scrubbers can reduce the emission of air pollutants.

4. Emission Regulating Laws: Air pollutant emission regulation laws can also play an important role in controlling transboundary air pollution.

5. Protocols: There are protocols that deal with transboundary air pollution i.e. reforming policies relating to cutting emissions of air pollutants.


Acid rain results from secondary air pollutants. The increasing environmental pollution is affecting all living beings. Acid rain is an outcome of human activities as a major contributor to air pollution is the coal-fired power plant. Environmental concerns are threatening the sustainability of the ecosystem. There is a dire need of implementing policies to control environmental pollution in order to save the planet Earth.

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