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by Godfred Owusu Bempah | 06-09-2023 07:46 recommendations 1


Acid rain is a type of air pollution that happens when sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in the atmosphere combine with water, oxygen, and other molecules to generate acidic compounds.

 One of the biggest sources of these emissions is energy generation, namely the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

Acid rain may have a variety of detrimental environmental effects, including harm to forests, lakes, and other ecosystems.

For several decades, acid rain has been a serious environmental concern in Europe, with emissions from energy generation being a major source. The switch to sustainable energy in Eastern Europe has helped to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, a harmful chemical that causes acid rain.

However, Europe's energy crisis is forcing some nations to resort to coal, which might result in a revival of acid rain.

Future acid rain research in Europe will concentrate on assessing uncertainty, predicting direct forest damage, and including additional contaminants into the equation.

The countries most affected are Germany, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Spain and Great Britain. Acid rain is also the cause of some people’s respiratory problems such as asthma and pneumonia. It also causes lower birth weight, which might affect a child’s growth and development.

Since at least the 1980s, efforts have been concentrated on lowering sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, establishing legislative solutions for minimizing acid rain, and coordinating national responses to the issue.

The main causes of acid rain in Europe, as highlighted below:

Combustion of fossil fuels: The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, is the principal source of acid rain in Europe, releasing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the atmosphere.


Agriculture-related emissions: Agricultural operations such as fertilizer and manure use can also contribute to acid rain by releasing nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.


Industrial emissions: Manufacturing and mining can also contribute to acid rain by emitting sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.


Emissions from transportation: Transportation, particularly vehicles, can contribute to acid rain by emitting nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.


Natural sources: Volcanic eruptions and wildfires, for example, can contribute to acid rain by releasing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.


Acidic rain has a range of negative effect on Europe being it their forest and water bodies and the following are some of the effects of it:

Acid rain may cause forest dieback across large parts of Europe, notably in the Netherlands, West Germany and Central Europe in the 1970s and 80s.in 1993 survey in European countries revealed that air pollution damage or mortality in 23 percent of 100,000 trees surveyed.

Acid rain may harm trees and plants by draining minerals and nutrients from the soil that they require to develop.

In acid rain-affected locations, dead or dying trees are prevalent.


Water pollution and Harm to aquatic life: Acid rain can destroy fish and other aquatic life in lakes and streams. Acidic precipitation can leach aluminum from soil clay particles as it passes through the soil and into streams and lakes, where it can damage fish and other species. In an article that belongs to Ambios 50th  Anniversary collection shows that from the southern parts of Norway came reports in 1968 and onwards about how acid rain badly affected rivers with salmon (Salmo salar) and lakes with trout (Salmo trutta) and char (Salvelinus alpinus). Also, from the Adirondack Mountains in northeastern USA came reports of severe effects on fish caused by acid rain.


Soil acidification: Acid rain can cause soil acidification, which reduces the availability of nutrients for plants and other creatures. This means that acid rain can be harmful to agriculture.

Acid rain can cause tens of thousands of lakes and streams in Europe to become substantially more acidic than they were in past decades, causing aquatic species such as fish, crayfish, and clam populations to suffer.


Reduced ecosystem services: Acid rain can reduce ecosystem services including air purification, carbon sequestration, and population control.


Recent studies show that the situation with acid rain in Europe has improved since the 1980s, when it was a serious environmental concern. Water acidification is still a severe concern in some parts of Europe, notably in Scandinavia, where bodies of water with pH levels below 5 are prevalent.

Precipitation in Northern Europe is more acidic, with 96.67% of pH values less than 5 and only 3.33% between 5 and 5.6.

The dominance of acidic compounds over neutralizing compounds in wet deposition rates reflects environmental impacts as well as local and regional economic features of various European areas.


International agreements to reduce Sulphur and Nitrogen emissions have improved the state of the soil in European forests, and the quantity of sulphate, nutrients, and aluminum in water that is present in the European forest soils has dropped.


The article shows and elaborate on the dangers and the threat acidic rain give to both humans and animals and the environment at large its health implications.



1.     What Happened to Acid Rain? - Britannica


2.     Acid rain in Europe and the United States: an update - ScienceDirect


3.     [PDF] Impacts and problems related to acid deposition in Europe - NILU


4.     The end of acid rain - Works in Progress

5.     Global Trends of Acidity in Rainfall and Its Impact on Plants and Soil - PMC - NCBI




GodfredOwusu Bempah

  • Ghana Former E-gen Ambassador Godfred Owusu Bempah
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SangHyeon Park

  • SangHyeon Park says :
    Hi, it's mentor SH.
    I developed a process for separating NOx through separator technology at the university last year. So this article feels more familiar to me. Thank you for the good article.
    Posted 28-09-2023 16:41

Bruno Troya

  • Bruno Troya says :
    Hey Godfred ! your report on acidic rain in Europe is an eye-opener. You've covered the causes and consequences really well. Let's keep spreading awareness about these environmental issues and work towards a healthier planet! 🌍🌧️🌱
    Posted 11-09-2023 02:20

Godfred Owusu Bempah

  • Godfred Owusu Bempah says :
    Mentor Seeun and Godfred Owusu i really appreciate your encouragement

    Posted 09-09-2023 15:22

Seeun Mentor

  • Seeun Mentor says :
    Hi,this is your mentro Seeun!
    Acidic rain has been a topic of discussion for over 10 years, but it seems like people still don't understand the harm they can do - no just to agriculture but monuments and humans too.
    Governments and companies alike should work to reduce SO2 and NOx emissions.
    Thank you for the informative article!

    Posted 07-09-2023 13:29

Godfred Owusu

  • Godfred Owusu says :
    Wow! I have heard about acidic rain, but I haven't done any detailed research about that, now I know what acidic rain is and it's harmful effect on the environment.

    Thank you for sharing your interesting topic with us! Keep on your hard work!
    Posted 06-09-2023 17:40

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