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ACID RAIN Increasing acidity in natural water and soil has become a global concern.

Acidification and climate change are interrelated as the sources responsible for acidification and greenhouse gases are the same. Unpolluted rain water normally is always slightly acidic, because CO2 in atmosphere dissolves in it forming carbonic acid (H2CO3).The pH of unpolluted rain water is about 5.5-5.7 but due to presence of SO2 and NO2 gases as pollutants in the atmosphere, the pH of rain water is further lowered, often as low as 2.4 and this type of precipitation is generally referred to as acid rain. Acid rain means the presence of excessive acids in rain water. Acid rain is a blend of H2SO4, HNO3, and HCl. The contribution of various gases is as follows: H2SO4 = 60-70% HNO3 = 30-40% HCl = 10% These oxides travel long distances in the atmosphere and undergo several physical and chemical transformations to produce more hazardous substances. Every source of energy that we use be it coal, wood or petroleum products has sulphur and nitrogen. These elements when burnt in atmospheric oxygen are converted into their respective oxides SO2 and NOx which are highly soluble in water. In the atmosphere the following reactions take place In case of sulphur S + O2 SO2 2SO2 + O2 2SO3 SO3 in humid atmosphere forms droplets of H2SO4.

In case of nitrogen following reactions take place NO + O NO2 + O2 NO2 + O3 NO3 + O2 NO2 + NO3 N2O5 N2O5 in humid conditions form nitric acid N2O5 + H2O 2HNO3

EFFECTS OF ACID RAIN Acid rain causes extensive damage to buildings and structural materials such as marble, limestone and slate. Taj Mahal has suffered lot due to SO2 and H2SO4 acid fumes or other pollutants from Mathura Refinery. Acid rain contaminates potable ground water with toxic compounds present in it. These toxic compounds enter into human body and effect human respiratory, nervous and digestive system. It produces smog which is a safety hazard. It increases the acidity of lakes and rivers which kills fish, algae and the aquatic system gets collapsed.


Some metallic pollutants and pesticides are non biodegradable. These poisonous substances are not easily broken down in the body; instead they accumulate in the tissues. As they are consumed by higher trophic levels through the food chain their concentration keeps on increasing. This phenomenon is referred to asbiomagnification. The permissible safe limit of

DDT in human body is 0.2 ppm whereas it is found on an average human body contains 11 ppm of DDT CAUSES FOR LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY: 1. Loss of habitat: - Destruction and loss of natural habitat is the single largest cause of biodiversity loss. Habitat fragmentation is the division of habitat into small and scattered patches due to development of roads, industries etc. in an original large habitat. Introduction of exotic species (alien species new to particular area):- Exotic species threaten native flora and fauna directly by predating or by competition and indirectly by altering the natural habitat or the exotic species may be disease causing species which might cause epidemic and kill the entire native species. eg. Water hyacinth is a weed which causes clogging supply of O2 and nutrients present in water bodies and hence cause suffocation. Pollution and Global warming: - Pollution and global warming alter the adaptability of various species thus adversely affecting the plant and animal species. They put a stress on ecosystem. Illegal practices like hunting and poaching: - Illegal trade of wildlife products by killing prohibited endangered animals commercially wild animals and hunted for their produces such as skin, tusk, fur and decoration purposes. eg. Dodo has become extinct because of hunting. Improper use of agrochemicals, pesticides, inequitable land distribution etc adversely affects the life of many species.





CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY: Conservation of Bio-diversity is essential for maintaining and saving various species and their ecosystems ultimately for survival of human beings. The two approaches of bio-diversity conservation are as follows:

1. 2.

Ex-situ conservation In-situ conservation

1. Ex-situ conservation: It is done for conservation of various crops and seeds when the population of a species is so fragile that its survival is no longer possible in its natural habitat. This conservation is done away from the natural habitat and hence referred to as ex-situ conservation. Example. (a) Botanical garden, zoological parks, aquarium (b) Seed banks: It is the most effective and efficient method of conserving diversity in which the seeds are cold stored for several years. It is usually kept at -5C for 5 25 years and its viable for 100 years if preserved at 20C. (c) Field gene bank: These are the places where growing plants of various genetics species are gathered for creating a gene pool. (d) In vitro (i.e. the conservation in enclosed glass): This type of conservation is usually carried out in research laboratories where species are kept under low temperature for slow growth and long storage. 2. Ex-situ conservation: It includes conservation of plants and animals in their native eco-systems and is applicable for wild flora and fauna. It is done by declaring the area as protected area with the emphasis either to save that entire area or the particular endangered species. Example. (a) National parks: It is an area strictly reserved for conservation of wildlife where activities like grazing, cultivation and private ownership are not allowed. Each national park conserves specifically some particular species of wildlife along with others. Jim corbet national park was the first national park of India. (b) Sanctuaries: These are the protected areas for wildlife where killing, hunting, shooting is prohibited however operations like harvesting of timbers, collection of miner forest products and private ownership rights are

permitted as long as they do not adversely affect the wild life. Eg. Bharatpur wild life Sanctuary in Rajasthan. (c) Biosphere reserve: These are undisturbed natural areas for scientific study as well as areas where habitat conservation is done. A biosphere reserve consist of two zones i.e. Core zone and buffer zone. Core zone is the internal area with almost no human interference and buffer zone surrounds the core zone where research, tourism, agriculture activities are carried out. A biosphere reserve may have one or more national parks within it. There are 14 biosphere reserves in India. Example. Nilgiri, Nanda devi, Sunderbans etc.