Acid rain is a global environmental phenomenon that has had a serious impact on the eco-biological environment. The adverse affects of acid rain have damaged lakes, streams, and living creatures in these ecosystems.
Fact 1. Acid rain hastens the degradation of the outer surface of monuments and historic buildings by destroying the building materials and paints. The sulphates and nitrates in the rain contribute to this decay.
Fact 2. Acid rain causes acidification of water sources such as lakes and streams and, in the process, damages trees at high elevations such as the Red Spruce trees above 2,000 feet.
Fact 3. The pH scale is used to measure acid rain with a lower pH indicating higher acidity. Normal rainfall will have a pH of 5.6 due to atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Since 2000, the pH of most rain in the U.S. is around 4.3.
Fact 4. The ways of reducing acid rain include the reduction of acid deposition and societal and individual changes.
Fact 5. Congress created the Acid Rain Program in 1990 to control and reduce acid rain. Methods of control include monitoring of emissions for acid deposition, reductions in such deposition, energy efficiency, and alternative energy sources.
Fact 6. The biggest source of acid rain is from burning fossil fuels by coal-burning power plants, factories, and vehicles. Lesser causes come from human activities, rotting vegetation, and active volcanoes.
Fact 7. An adverse impact of acid rain is a reduction in crop yields and the overriding of the beneficial effects of new forms of agricultural produce. One good example, according to scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, is the IR8 rice which disappeared after providing incredible yields in the 1960s.
Fact 8. The temperature of the Earth will increase another 2 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit if acid rain is not curbed.
Fact 9. Around 33% of the carbon dioxide from pollution is absorbed by oceans. If greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked, the acidification of the oceans can hasten at an unprecedented rate.
Fact 10. There is a cap-and-trade plan to cut sulphur dioxide emissions in half at a reduced cost. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act is also targeted at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Cap and Trade was a central strategy discussed at the December, 2011 climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Countries like Australia, Brazil, China, and South Korea have implemented carbon markets.