EnvironmentPollutionWater Pollution

Effects of Acid Rain on The Environment

Consequences of acid rain in our lives...

Adverse Effects of Acid Rain

Acid rain is becoming a significant environmental problem these days. The acid rain is directly connected to the pollution caused by various sources. As the amount of pollution is increasing every day, so the level of acid rain is also equally increasing, hampering the environment.

major consequences of acid rain

Acid rain is affecting the health of plants, animals, and humans. Everyone has to put a lot of effort to survive in the adverse conditions caused due to acid rain, whether it is a wet deposition of acid rain or it is a dry deposition. The bottom line is that the whole environment is getting affected by the harmful effects of acid rain. Here are some of the adverse impacts of acid rain on the environment.

Harmful Impacts of Acid Rain on the Environment

The environment consists of living and non-living organisms. All the plants, animals, and other microorganisms, including air, water, and land, collectively make as an ecosystem. Every component of an ecosystem is connected in one way or another. If any of these components get harm, the entire ecosystem will be affected by this. For example – acid rain is causing harm to water and soil, but the species dependent on these are also getting affected by acid rain. Let’s discuss the harmful effects of acid rain in detail –

  • Impacts of acid rain on Humans –

Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are the main components of acid rain that are quite harmful to our bodies. Acid rain may not affect our body directly, but it has many indirect ways to harm our bodies. The acid rain contaminates the water bodies, and when this water enters our body, it causes various health issues.

“Ever wondered – why earth is called blue planet?”

Sometimes the heavy metals released through acid rain also get its entry into our body when we drink the acidic water. Acid rain shows multiple health issues on our bodies. It affects the functioning of various organs and tissues such as the nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, etc. Especially, those people who have the problem of asthma may be affected by acid rain quite adversely.


Apart from this, headaches, irritation in skin, throat, and eyes, etc. are also noticeable as consequences of acid rain. If you swim in acidic water, it may irritate different parts of your body like skin, eyes, nose, etc. If the intensity of acid rain increases, sometimes people may have severe health issues such as lung problems, heart problems, bronchitis, pneumonia, brain damage, etc.

  • Impacts of acid rain on aquatic ecosystem –

Water bodies like rivers, lakes, seas, etc. are directly affected by acid rain. The water becomes quickly acidic when the acid rain precipitates on surface water and thus cause acidification of water. When the acidity of water increases, it affects the aquatic ecosystem causing contamination of water. Flora and fauna of marine biodiversity feel it challenging to live in acidic water. The acidic water affects the well-being of water creatures by causing various health issues. 

Acid rain disturbs the entire ecological balance of aquatic life by killing many bacteria and blue algae that plays a critical role in the marine ecosystem. The extremely acidic water caused due to acid rain also drains aluminum from the soil, which gets dissolved in water, causing the death of fishes by choking their gills. Acid rain also causes the death of shellfishes of the water kingdom due to a lack of calcium carbonate.

Learn more about: Rainforest ecosystem here…

The scarcity of calcium carbonate is one of the main effects of acid rain caused due to the reduction of pH levels of water. The average pH level of water in lakes, oceans, and seas is 6.5, but due to increasing the acidity, it starts getting reduced. Eventually, the reduction in Ph level not only disturbs the ecological balance but also affects the food chain of aquatic life.

  • Impacts of acid rain on terrestrial ecology –

The terrestrial ecosystem is equally affected by the harmful effects on acid rain. The nitric acid and sulfuric acid sucks the minerals from the soil, causing demineralization in the land. As a result of this, the acidity of the soil increases, which reduces the pH balance in the soil. The lower pH level affects the ability of nitrifying bacteria that plays a vital role in nitrogen fixation. 

If we look at the present scenario, the growth of vegetables is profoundly affected due to acid rain. The increase in acidic properties of soil has minimized the growth of vegetables (such as peas, beans, spinach, carrot, etc.) to a vast extent. Acid rain is also affecting the flora of the environment, including the weak productivity of the forest area. 

  • Effects of acid rain on the quality of soil –

Acid rain not only affects the water and vegetation of the environment but also degrades the quality of the soil. The adverse effects of acid rain on soil include various issues such as improper biological functioning, damage to chemical composition, imbalance of soil microbes, etc. The soil has to maintain a proper pH balance to support the biological functions, but acid rain disturbs this pH balance causing acidity in the soil.

When the acidity increases, it directly hampers the chemistry and biology of the soil. As a result of acid rain, the microorganisms present in soil could not adjust with the changes in soil composition and thus die, unfortunately. Excessive levels of acidity caused due to acid rain also suck the necessary nutrients and minerals from the soil. Eventually, the soil is unable to support the vegetation and the lives of many microorganisms.

  • Impacts of acid rain on materials

The effects of acid rain are not only restricted to water, vegetation, soil, but it also affects the material adversely. Acid rain has the properties to damage various building materials, statues, vehicles, etc. When acid rain penetrates these materials, the nitric acid and sulfuric acid start corroding its surface. Few examples of acid rain on materials are –

  1. The chemicals present in acid rain can damage the paint from the vehicles. 
  2. The building materials made up of marble and limestone are highly affected due to acid rain. The damage caused by acid rain on these materials is known as stone leprosy. 
  3. Due to acid rain, the historical monuments, statues, railing, etc. starts losing its beauty and appearance. Hence it requires enormous maintenance costs.
  4. The acidic particles can easily corrode the surface of metals (such as steel, bronze, copper, iron, etc.), and thus, it doesn’t appear very interesting.
  • Effects of acid rain on plants (vegetation) –

When acid rain goes into the soil, it destroys various vital nutrients required for the growth of plants and trees. Acid rain also releases a tremendous amount of aluminum in the soil that hinders the water supply into the plants and trees. Due to scarcity of water, the growth of the plants and trees are profoundly affected, sometimes it may also cause the death of the vegetation unconditionally. 

The other forms of acid rain, like fog and snow, are also contributing equally to damaging the vegetation of the Earth. The acid rain also damages the chlorosis available in the leaves of plants and trees due to long term exposure to acid rain. The acid rain containing SO2 also affects the performance of the cells present near stomata. As the adverse effects of acid rain, the plants and trees are more prone to various diseases and pest attacks.

Acid rain is harmful and we must reduce pollution to reduce its effects. If you have any more points, do reply in the comment section.

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