Effects of Acid Rain
- Increased acidity in water bodies
- Stops eggs of certain organisms (e.g. fish) to stop hatching
- Changes population ratios
- Affects the ecosystem
- Harmful to vegetation
- Increased acidity in soil
- Leeches nutrients from soil, slowing plant growth
- Leeches toxins from soil, poisoning plants
- Creates brown spots in leaves of trees, impeding photosynthesis
- Allows organisms to infect through broken leaves
- Accelerates weathering in metal and stone structures
- E.g. Parthenon in Athens, Greece; Taj Mahal in Agra, India
- Affects human health
- Respiratory problems, asthma, dry coughs, headaches and throat irritations
- Leeching of toxins from the soil by acid rain can be absorbed by plants and animals. When consumed, these toxins affect humans severely.
- Brain damage, kidney problems, and Alzheimer's disease has been linked to people eating "toxic" animals/plants
- Reduce amount of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen released into the atmosphere
- Use less energy (hence less fuel burnt)
- Use cleaner fuels
- Remove oxides of sulphur and oxides of nitrogen before releasing
- Flue gas desulphurization
- Catalytic Converters
- Use cleaner fuels
- Coal that contains less sulphur
- "Washing" the coal to reduce sulphur content
- Natural Gas
- Flue Gas De-sulphurization (FGD)
- Removes sulphur dioxide from flue gas (waste gases)
- Consists of a wet scrubber and a reaction tower equipped with a fan that extracts hot smoky stack gases from a power plant into the tower
- Lime or limestone (calcium carbonate) in slurry form is injected into the tower to mix with the stack gases and reacts with the sulphur dioxide present
- Produces pH-neutral calcium sulphate that is physically removed from the scrubber
- Sulphates can be used for industrial purposes
- Use other sources of electricity (i.e. nuclear power, hydro-electricity, wind energy, geothermal energy, and solar energy)
- Issue of cost
- Powdered limestone/limewater added to water and soil to neutralize acid
Expensive, short-term remedy
- Use an alternative energy source such as batteries, solar & wind power, electricity and the like. Fossil fuel emissions cause pollution and acid rain and are expensive and non-renewable. Another great energy source is manpower; consider walking or biking to work or school.
- Plant a tree. These are finally something we don't seem to have enough of. The tree will absorb some of the polluted air and put out clean, fresh oxygen
How did it affect the Taj?
The Taj Mahal (also "the Taj") is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. Thus this beautiful monument soon paved its way into the 7 wonders of the world.
When sulphur pollutants fall on to buildings made from limestone and sandstone they react with minerals in the stone to form a powdery substance that can be washed away by rain. Famous buildings like the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Taj Mahal in India and St. Paul's Cathedral in London have all been damaged by this sort of air pollution.
Acid rain can also damage stained glass windows in churches, railway lines and steel bridges. The acid rain slowly eats away them all. Building materials crumble away, metals are corroded, the colour of paint is spoiled, leather is weakened and crusts form on the surface of glass.
If people start reducing emissions we could save all these buildings.