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A Seminar Report on

Under the Subject:

Environmental Studies.

By:- Abhishek Nikhoria Ankur kharecha Krunal Odedra Vishal Khode Malay Karia

Serial Topic No. 1 Introduction 2 History:
2.1 India : Taj-Mahal, Red Rain and Gray Rain 2.2 World

3 4 5 6

Formation of Acid Rain Adverse Effects Prevention Conclusion

Page No. 3 4 4 7 8 11 14 17

Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, i.e. elevated levels of hydrogen ions (low pH). It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure through the process of wet deposition. Acid rain is caused by emissions of compounds of ammonium, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur which react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids. Governments have made efforts since the 1970s to reduce the production of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere with positive results. However, it can also be caused naturally by the splitting of nitrogen compounds by the energy produced by lightning strikes, or the release of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere by volcano eruptions. "Acid rain" is a popular term referring to the deposition of wet (rain, snow, sleet, fog, cloud-water, and dew) and dry (acidifying particles and gases) acidic components. A more accurate term is acid deposition. Water, once carbon dioxide is removed, has a neutral pH of 7. Liquids with a pH less than 7 are acidic, and those with a pH greater than 7 are Alkaline. Clean or unpolluted rain has a slightly acidic pH of about 5.2, because carbon dioxide and water in the air react together to form carbonic acid, but unpolluted rain also contains other chemicals. H2O (l) + CO2 (g) H2CO3 (aq.) Carbonic acid then can ionize in water forming low concentrations of hydronium and carbonate ions: 2 H2O (l) + H2CO3 (aq.) CO32 (aq.) + 2 H3O+ (aq.) Acid deposition as an environmental issue would include additional acids to H2CO3.

Taj-Mahal: More recent threats have come from environmental pollution on the banks of Yamuna River including acid rain due to the Mathura Oil Refinery, which was opposed by Supreme Court of India directives. The pollution has been turning the Taj Mahal yellow. To help control the pollution, the Indian government has set up the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), a 10,400 square kilometer (4,015 square mile) area around the monument where strict emissions standards are in place.

Red rain in Kerala: From July 25 to September 23, 2001, red rain sporadically fell on the southern Indian state of Kerala. Heavy downpours occurred in which the rain was colored red, staining clothes pink. Yellow, green, and black rain was also reported.Colored rain had been reported in Kerala as early as 1896 and several times since then It was initially thought that the rains were colored by fallout from a hypothetical meteor burst, but a study commissioned by the Government of India concluded that the rains had been colored by airborne spores from locally prolific terrestrial algae. It was not until early 2006 that the colored rains of Kerala gained widespread attention when the popular media reported that Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar of the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam proposed a controversial hypothesis that the colored particles were extraterrestrial cells

Cause Of Occurence : The colored rain of Kerala began falling on July 25, 2001, in the districts of Kottayam and Idukki in the southern part of the state. Yellow, green, and black rain was also reported. Many more occurrences of the red rain were reported over the following ten days, and then with diminishing frequency until late September. According to locals, the first colored rain was preceded by a loud thunderclap and flash of light, and followed by groves of trees shedding shriveled grey "burnt" leaves. Shriveled leaves and the disappearance and sudden formation of wells were also reported around the same time in the area. It typically fell over small areas, no more than a few square kilometers in size, and was sometimes so localized that normal rain could be falling just a few meters away from the red rain. Red rainfalls typically lasted less than 20 minutes.Each milliliter of rain water contained about 9 million red particles, and each liter of rainwater contained approximately 100 milligrams of solids. Extrapolating these figures to the total amount of red rain estimated to have fallen, it was estimated 50,000 kilograms of red particles had fallen on Kerala.

Truth (Official Report): The color was found to be due to the presence of a large amount of spores of a lichen-forming alga belonging to the genus Trentepohlia. Field verification showed that the region had plenty of such lichens. Samples of lichen taken from Changanacherry, when cultured in an algal medium, also showed the presence of the same species of algae. Both samples (from rainwater and from trees) produced the same kind of algae, indicating that the spores seen in the rainwater most probably came from local sources.

Gray Rain in Orissa A grayish layer on leaves, vehicles and elsewhere. People were surprised to see the leaves of trees in my medicinal plant nursery covered with white and grey mudlike substances. Arttabandhu Mishra, a retired professor of the university, suspects the rain was caused by Orissas thermal power belts of Angul-Talcher and Ib Valley. Burning coal is the main cause of acid rain and Orissas two big coal fields emit over 320 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, 919 tonnes of nitrogen oxide and 33,883 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Acid rain can travel up to 400 km, and surely the rain in the region was acid rain, he said.

In the 1960s, fish populations in the Scandinavian countries were showing a rapid decline as a result of acid rain. The infamous forest dieback in some parts of central Europe was also from acid rain. Thus, experience from elsewhere bears out clearly enough that the whole problem as it confronts India needs proactive handling.

Acid rain would only increase this figure significantly. The prospect of increasing consumption of coal in Asia makes the acid rain threat even more real than ever. Possible options for mitigation are: radical improvements in energy efficiency, a switchover to low sulphur fuels like natural gas, greater use of renewables, major cut-down and removal of sulphur from crude oil distillates like diesel, fuel oil, etc., and finally, the widespread use of state-of-the-art pollution control devices in all polluting sectors of the economy. As experience stands in Europe and north America, the threat of acid rain was severely dealt with in these regions through heavy spending on SO2 abatement technologies and rapidly cutting down the dependence on coal by shifting to natural gas and nuclear energy. But, action in these regions came only after a considerable amount of ecological damage.

In industrialized countries, environmental regulations restricting sulfur emissions and market forces that favor greater use of natural gaswhich contains little sulfurhave proved relatively effective in cutting SO2 emissions. However, even this success may not be enough in some sensitive areas. A recent Canadian report concluded that SO2 emissions might have to fall another three quarters if ecosystems in a large area of southeastern Canada were to be adequately protected . In addition, declines in SO2 emissions are likely to be partially offset in the future by emissions of Nox, which have remained broadly constant in the OECD countries since 1980. In much of Europe, Nox emissions are now creeping up again, due mainly to increased vehicle numbers and usage.

Formation of Acid Rain
Acid Rain includes both dry and wet acidic deposits. Acid rain originates from sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Various Industries are responsible for emitting these gases onto the atmosphere like electric power generation, industrial process, transportation, biological activities in soil. Once these particles are emitted into air, they form sulfate and nitrate particles. These particles can travel through long distances on wind currents. By combining with water vapor, these particles form acids.

Here, wet deposition of acid occurs, when any form of precipitation (snow, rain etc) removes acids from the atmosphere and delivers it to the Earth's surface. Acid deposition also occurs via dry deposition in the absence of precipitation. This can be responsible for as much as 20 to 60% of total acid deposition. This occurs when particles and gases stick to the ground, plants or other surfaces.

Chemical Reactions:
Normal Rain H20 + CO2 H2CO3 pH of Normal Rain is about 5.6

Acid Rain 2SO2 + O2 + 2H2O 2H2SO4 4NO + 3O2 +2H2O 4HNO3 pH of Acid Rain is b/w 4 and 5

Typical Acid Rain in Northeastern US has - Sulfuric Acid = 65% - Nitric Acid = 30% - Other Acids = 5%

Measuring Acid Rain

Acid is a sour tasting substance that chemically reacts with a base and turns litmus/pH paper red. Acid rain is also measured and tested on a pH scale. The lower a substances pH, the more acidic it is. The pH scale ranges from zero to fourteen. Pure water has a pH of 7.0, which is neutral. Any number above 7.0 or increasing in alkalinity is considered a base, while any number below 7.0 or increasing in acidity is considered an acid. Rain measuring between zero and five on the pH scale is very acidic and therefore is called acid rain. Carbon dioxide dissolves into normal rain so it is slightly acidic with a normal pH of

10 about 5.5. By the year 2002 the pH level of acidic rain falling all over the polluted United States was about 4.3.

Two networks of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitor the chemicals that cause acid rain and acid rains pH. The National Atmospheric Deposition Program measures wet deposition, while The Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) measure dry deposition. The National Atmosphere Deposition Program monitors long-term trends by collecting precipitation weekly where the Central Analytical Laboratory analyzes the samples for sulfate, hydrogen, nitrate, chloride, and ammonium. Kentucky has had seven active wet deposition sites over the past twenty years, but the most recent contaminated area was found October 7, 2003 at Seneca Park. As for dry deposition The Clean Air Status and Trends Network measure and monitor the amounts of dry gaseous components polluting different areas. Data compiled with atmospheric concentration are collected at each site with a three stage, openfaced filter pack. The filter pack contains a nylon filter for nitric acid and a base cellulose filter for sulfur dioxide, and a Teflon filter for collections of particular species. CASTNET has previously recorded over five sites in Kentucky are polluted by dry deposition including areas such as Mammoth Cave, Crockett, and Mackville. The National Atmospheric and Clean Air Status and Trends Network are great programs that not only test and monitor wet and dry deposition, but they also work extremely hard to find ways of preventing acid rain.


Effects of Acid Rain

Effects of Acid Rain
Acid rain is caused by chemical pollutants in the air, mainly sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides that form when coal or other fossil fuels are burned in factories and cars. These compounds dissolve in rainwater as it falls, forming sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Acidity is measured on the pH scale, from 0 to 14. Pure distilled water has a pH of 7.0, which is neutral. Solutions with a pH of less than 7 are acidic. Rainwater in unpolluted environments normally contains small amounts of dissolved CO2 and is slightly acidic, about pH 5.5. Rainwater of pH lower than 5.5 is considered to be acid rain.

Effects of Acid Rain on Forests

Tree crowns or tops get thinner Acid rain dissolves tree leaves Soil water gets very acidic as the rain soaks into it. The roots of the trees take up and transpire acidic water from the soil, just like you drinking acid. This damages the insides of trees and leads to heavy leaf fall. Trees are often stripped of all their leaves. Trees are weakened and more affected by pests, diseases and draught. Acidic soils stop young trees growing. Large areas of forest are often destroyed, especially the coniferous forests of Norway and Sweden.

Effects on Lakes and Rivers

Acid rain flows into lakes and rivers as surface flow, through flow and groundwater flow. The acidic water dissolves toxic metals from the soil, such as aluminum and cadmium.

Therefore, these metals also end up in the rivers and lakes with the acidic rain. The heavy metals and acids in the water are taken in by all animal and plant life. This causes

problems such as: a) Eggs if animals such as dusks and birds become too thin and brittle to hatch

12 b) c) d) Toxic metals build up in gills of fish and their eggs fail to fertilize, the means their numbers drop. Water plants are destroyed by acidic water lilies Toxic metals build up in plants and are passed through the food chain- herbivores eat the plants

with heavy metals and carnivores eat animals which have eaten the poisoned plants in the first place. e) Acidic water encourages massive growth of ` uses up oxygen from the lake bed and deprives

other water animals, such as fish, of oxygen. f) g) Acid attacks and weakens calcium in the bones of animals so they are injured easily. Plants and animals suffer deformity.

How Acid Rain Harms Trees

Acid rain does not usually kill trees directly. Instead, it is more likely to weaken the trees by damaging their leaves, limiting the nutrients available to them, or poisoning them with toxic substances slowly released from the soil. Scientists believe that acidic water dissolves the nutrients and helpful minerals in the soil and then washes them away before the trees and other plants can use them to grow. At the same time, the acid rain causes the release of toxic substances such as aluminum into the soil. These are very harmful to trees and plants, even if contact is limited. Toxic substances also wash away in the runoff that carries the substances into streams, rivers, and lakes. Less of these toxic substances are released when the rainfall is cleaner. Acid rain can harm other plants in the same way it harms trees. Food crops are not usually seriously affected, however, because farmers frequently add fertilizers to the soil to replace nutrients washed away. They may also add crushed limestone to the soil. Limestone is a basic material and increases the ability of the soil to act as a buffer against acidity.

Effects of Acid Rain on Aquatic Ecosystems

The effects of acid rain are most clearly seen in the aquatic, or water, environments, such as streams, lakes, and marshes. Lake water is a solution containing minerals and salts dissolved from rocks and soil, as well as suspended organic material from decomposed plant and animal life. As these components vary in different locations, so does the natural pH of the lake water in different locations. Acid rain flows to streams, lakes, and marshes after falling on forests, fields, buildings, and roads. Acid rain also falls directly on aquatic habitats.

13 Most lakes and streams have a pH between 6 and 8. Lakes and streams become acidic (pH value goes down) when the water itself and its surrounding soil cannot buffer the acid rain enough to neutralize it. In areas like the Northeastern United States where soil buffering is poor, some lakes now have a pH value of less than 5. One of the most acidic lakes reported is Little Echo Pond in Franklin, New York. Little Echo Pond has a pH of 4.2. Lakes and streams in the western United States are usually not acidic. Generally, the young of most species are more sensitive than adults. Frogs may tolerate relatively high levels of acidity, but if they eat insects like the mayfly, they may be affected because part of their food supply may disappear. As lakes and streams become more acidic, the numbers and types of fish and other aquatic plants and animals that live in these waters decrease. Some types of plants and animals are able to tolerate acidic waters. Others, however, are acid-sensitive and will be lost as the pH declines. Some acid lakes have no fish. At pH 5, most fish eggs cannot hatch. At lower pH levels, some adult fish die. Toxic substances like aluminum that wash into the water from the soil may also kill fish. Together, biological organisms and the environment in which they live are called an ecosystem. The plants and animals living within an ecosystem are highly interdependent. For example, fish eat other fish and also other plants and animals that live in the lake or stream. If acid rain causes the loss of acidsensitive plants and animals, then fish that rely on these organisms for food may also be affected.

Human-Made Materials
Acid rain eats away at stone, metal, paint -- almost any material exposed to the weather for a long period of time. Human-made materials gradually deteriorate even when exposed to unpolluted rain, but acid rain accelerates the process. Acid rain can cause marble statues carved long ago to lose their features. Acid rain has the same effect on buildings and monuments. Repairing acid rain damage to houses, buildings, and monuments can cost billions of dollars. Ancient monuments and buildings, such as the Parthenon in Greece, can never be replaced.

Effects of Acid Rain on People

Acid rain looks, feels, and tastes just like clean rain. The harm to people from acid rain is not direct. Walking in acid rain, or even swimming in an acid lake, is no more dangerous than walking or swimming in clean water. The air pollution that causes acid rain is more damaging to human health. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, the major sources of acid rain, can irritate or even damage our lungs. The pollutants that cause acid rain can also reduce visibility.


Prevention of Acid rain is very important for the future of our environment. Since acid rain is caused mainly by the emission of sulphur dioxide from coal-fired power plants. There are a number of preventions, including: switching fuel sources to natural gas, oil, or renewable energy sources; switching to low-sulphur coal; removing the sulphur from the coal before burning; using fluidised-bed combustion processes to burn the coal; and removing the sulphur from the smoke stack after combustion through the installation of pollution control equipment. Other prevention methods are catalytic converters, road traffic restrictions, and equalising acidity in affected water systems by using powdered limestone and reduction in the sulphur content of fuels. Things you could do in the community to prevent are protest against the use of coal fire in industry, walking more and driving less, buy fuel efficient cars or alternative fuel powered vehicles and head community campaigns promoting awareness of the issue. On a more personal level, there are many things you can do to help prevent acid rain. Try to use your car as little as possible: walk, use public transportation, and carpool. Turn the heat down in your house, and dont use air conditioning (these things require more gas burning). Conserve water by running a washing machine or dishwasher only with a full load. And remember to turn off lights, and use energy efficient lightbulbs! By following these tips, you will reduce the emissions of fossil fuels by using less energy. If we all pitch in and do our part, we can improve our quality of life and the beautiful earth on which we live.
Basically, there are three types of Prevention Methods. They are:


a.) Technical solutions

In the United States, many coal-burning power plants use Flue gas

desulfurization (FGD) to remove sulfur-containing gases from their stack gases. An example of FGD is the wet scrubber which is commonly used in the U.S. and many other countries. A wet scrubber is basically a reaction tower equipped with a fan that extracts hot smoke stack gases from a power plant into the tower. Lime or limestone in slurry form is also injected into the tower to mix with the stack gases and combine with the sulfur dioxide present. The calcium carbonate of the limestone produces pH-neutral calcium sulfate that is physically removed from the scrubber. That is, the scrubber turns sulfur pollution into industrial sulfates. In some areas the sulfates are sold to chemical companies as gypsum when the purity of calcium sulfate is high. In others, they are placed in landfill. However, the effects of acid rain can last for generations, as the effects of pH level change can stimulate the continued leaching of undesirable chemicals into otherwise pristine water sources, killing off vulnerable insect and fish species and blocking efforts to restore native life. Automobile emissions control reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides from motor vehicles.

b.) International treaties

A number of international treaties on the long range transport of atmospheric pollutants have been agreed e.g. Sulphur Emissions Reduction Protocol under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.


c.) Emissions trading

In this regulatory scheme, every current polluting facility is given or may purchase on an open market an emissions allowance for each unit of a designated pollutant it emits. Operators can then install pollution control equipment, and sell portions of their emissions allowances they no longer need for their own operations, thereby recovering some of the capital cost of their investment in such equipment. The intention is to give operators economic incentives to install pollution controls. The first emissions trading market was established in the United States by enactment of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The overall goal of the Acid Rain Program established by the Act is to achieve significant environmental and public health benefits through reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO 2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), the primary causes of acid rain. To achieve this goal at the lowest cost to society, the program employs both regulatory and market based approaches for controlling air pollution.


Look to the future:
As emissions from the largest known sources of acid deposition - power plants and automobiles-are reduced, EPA scientists and their colleagues must assess the reductions to make sure they are achieving the results Congress anticipated. If these assessments show that acid deposition is still harming the environment, Congress may begin to consider additional ways to reduce emissions that cause acid deposition. They may consider additional emissions reductions from sources that have already been controlled, or methods to reduce emissions from other sources. They may also invest in energy efficiency and alternative energy. The cutting edge of protecting the environment from acid deposition will continue to develop and implement cost-effective mechanisms to cut emissions and reduce their impact on the environment.

Take action as individuals:

It may seem like there is not much that one individual can do to stop acid deposition. However, like many environmental problems, acid deposition is caused by the cumulative actions of millions of individual people. Therefore, each individual can also reduce their contribution to the problem and become part of the solution. One of the first steps is to understand the problem and its solutions. Individuals can contribute directly by conserving energy, since energy production causes the largest portion of the acid deposition problem. For example, you can:

Turn off lights, computers, and other appliances when you're not using them Use energy efficient appliances: lighting, air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.

Only use electric appliances when you need them. Keep your thermostat at 68 F in the winter and 72 F in the summer. You can turn it even lower in the winter and higher in the summer when you are away from home.

Insulate your home as best you can.

Carpool, use public transportation, or better yet, walk or bicycle whenever possible