WHAT CAUSES ACID RAIN - FOR KIDS

Poisonous gases and other chemicals pour into the atmosphere every day.
These are the waste products from our power stations, factories, and cars. Two of these waste gases, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, collect in the atmosphere. They then mix with the moisture in the air to become sulfuric acid and nitric acid.
These acids are absorbed by rain clouds and fall to the ground again as acid rain. The acid rain clouds can drift hundreds of miles before falling as rain.
Acid rain can fall a long way from the place where the gases first entered the atmosphere.

WHERE DOES ACID RAIN FALL?

The areas where most acid rain falls are the eastern part of North America, central and northwestern Europe, and parts of Asia. Acid rain falling on North America comes from the industrial cities of the United States. Much of the acid rain in northwestern Europe has drifted from Germany.
Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from coal-fired power stations and factory chimneys are causes of acid rain.

WHAT EFFECTS DOES ACID RAIN HAVE ON THE ENVIRONMENT?

Acid rain can cause serious damage. It kills trees and destroys many wildlife habitats. Areas of forest in eastern North America, central Europe, and parts of Asia have been damaged by acid rain.
When acid rain falls into lakes and rivers, it harms the fish, plants, and other freshwater life. In cities, acid rain can even eat away at the stonework of buildings.

HOW CAN WE REDUCE ACID RAIN?

Acid rain passes from one country to another. The problem of acid rain can only be solved by agreements between countries. About 20 countries have already agreed to cut down the pollution that causes acid rain. They have agreed to control fumes from power stations and factories.
Waste gases from power stations and factory chimneys rise into the air. The gases mix with water vapor in the clouds.
These clouds are carried great distances by the wind. The rain which falls from them is a weak acid.
This acid rain damages the countryside.

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