“It is personal – deep in my bones and my flesh – the knowledge that we squandered our chance to avoid the climate emergency; to act when it would have been so much easier, as we did to stop acid rain, to save the ozone layer.”

Elizabeth May, Politician

28 Acid Rain Facts and Stats You should know

Acid rain can be a serious environmental issue and can have severe negative effects on a variety of animals and plants.

It can also cause severe health effects for humans and can destroy buildings and other infrastructure.

In this article, a variety of facts and stats regarding acid rain is given.

List of the most important Acid Rain Facts & Stats

  • Acid rain can be defined as rain with a pH-value of around 4.0.-4.2. Normal unpolluted rain usually has a pH-value of 5-5.5, while distilled water is pH-neutral and has a pH-value of 7. Thus, the lower the pH-value, the higher the acidity level.
  • There are two different forms of acid rain, wet and dry deposition. While wet deposition comes in the form of snow or rain, dry deposition comes in the form of particles and gases sticking to the ground.
  • The main components which cause acid rain are nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides which react with oxygen and water and in turn form acid rain.
  • Acid rain may go down hundreds or even thousands of miles away from where the original emissions have taken place.
  • Acid rain has become an even bigger issue over the past centuries due to the industrial revolution and the excessive production of material goods.
  • Acid rain can be caused by either natural phenomena, for example the eruption of a volcano or also by human intervention.
  • Vehicles are a big source of emissions that in turn can cause acid rain.
  • Industrial processes also heavily contribute to the acid rain issue.
  • Agriculture can also contribute to the formation of acid rain due to the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Acid rain can have serious human health effects.
  • Acid rain also hurts the local flora and fauna.
  • The acidity level in the soil can be altered due to acid rain, which in turn can lead to a decrease in crop yields.
  • Buildings can be damaged due to acid rain. Especially limestone buildings are quite vulnerable to acidity.
  • The roots of trees can be damaged if the acidity level is high enough, which can significantly hurt forests.
  • Aquatic animals may also suffer from acid rain, especially those who live in shallow lakes. If acidity levels increase due to acid rain, many fishes and plants may die off since they may not be able to appropriately adjust to these new conditions.
  • Acid rain may also contribute to global warming, since it can hurt forests, which are natural carbon dioxide storages. If these forests die off due to acid rain, they are no longer able to store carbon dioxide and large amounts of greenhouse gases will enter the atmosphere, which in turn increases the speed of global warming.
  • The vegetation cover is also likely to get destroyed due to acid rain since it is the first layer that gets in touch with rain. If this rain is too acid, the vegetation cover may get severely damaged.
  • There are several regulations in place which aim to fight acid rain. For instance, in the U.S., the Clean Air Act has been introduced in 1990. Some other states also introduced local regulations.
  • Sulfur dioxide emissions dropped from 23 tons in 1990 to 10 tons in 2008 a year.
  • Nitrogen oxide emissions decreased from 26 million tons in 1990 to 17 million tons a year.
  • However, on a global scale, acid rain is not tackled efficiently at all through treaties or other regulatory measures.
  • 53,000 square miles of Great Lakes, which corresponds to 88% of these lakes, are affected by acid rain.
  • 21,000 miles of streams in the Appalachian Mountains are contaminated through acid rain.
  • 550 lakes in the Adirondack Mountain area are tainted by acid rain.
  • In the Northeast of the U.S., fishes in more than 10,000 lakes are considered to be no longer suitable for human consumption due to acid rain.
  • The transition from fossil to renewable energy sources is crucial in order to fight acid rain.
  • The use of pesticides and fertilizers should be lowered in agricultural processes to mitigate the formation of acid rain.
  • Everyone of us can make his or her contribution to a reduction of the acid rain issue by saving energy, reducing our consumption behavior and by avoiding waste production.







About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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