Acid Rain: Causes of Acid Rain

Acid rain

can be defined as the precipitation which has high amounts of acids. Most of the times, acid rain occurs due to lightning strikes and volcanoes. But one of the main reason for acid rains is high levels of noxious gases released by automobiles and factories. These noxious gases have a negative impact on the ecological balance. Read on to know more about the causes of acid rain.

Adverse effects of acid rain can be seen on the human health, soils, forests and fauna and flora. This is also responsible for resulting in extinction of many species.

Causes of Acid Rain

The two main sources of acid rain are sulfur oxide and oxides of nitrogen. Sulfur dioxide is released when fossil fuels containing sulfur are burned. This is the by-product and a colorless gas.

Sulfur dioxide

is released in the atmosphere due to various industrial processes:

  • iron and steel factories
  • utility factories
  • processing of crude oil

Also, any kind of natural disaster can cause emission of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere. These include:

  • volcanoes
  • sea spray
  • plankton
  • rotting vegetables

All of these events account for 10% of sulfur dioxide emission. 3.7% of sulfur dioxide is released by vehicular transportation where as 69.4% is industrial emission.

Nitrogen oxide

is the second chemical which causes acid rain. Oxides of nitrogen are those nitrogen compounds which contain oxygen atoms. The example of oxides of nitrogen are nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. 43% of nitrogen oxide is due to vehicular transportation and 32% is due to industrial emission.


5% of nitrogen oxide

is releases due to natural processes such as bacterial action in soil, forest fires, volcanic eruptions and lightning. This gas can cause severe damage to the respiratory organs in the body by attacking the membranes. Hence, increasing the risk of respiratory diseases.

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