When did acid rain start?

Acid rain is not new. It was first discovered in England in 1872. Smoke from coal was the cause. Coal and oil smoke are still a problem, 120 years later.


What should rain be like?

The only place on earth where pure water is found is in a laboratory. Rain water always contains small amounts of impurities. These impurities come from dust particles or are absorbed from the gases in the air.


How is acid rain formed?

Acid rain is caused by the release of the gases SO2 (sulphur dioxide) and NOX (nitrous oxides). The main sources of SO2 in South Africa are coal-fired power stations and metal working industries. The main sources of NOX emissions are vehicles and fuel combustion





Acid rain can increase the acidity of lakes, dams and streams and cause the death of aquatic life.

Acid rain can increase the acidity of soil, water and shallow groundwater.

Acid rain erodes buildings and monuments. Acid particles in the air are suspected of contributing to respiratory problems in people.


-         Acid rain can dissolve rock as deep as 98 ft. (30m)

-         Erosion is fastest in steep rainy areas and semiarid areas with little vegetation.

-         Heartburn is caused by excess hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

-         The rate of erosion for the whole of the world land area is estimated to be 3.3 in. (8.6cm) every 1000 years.

-         pH or potential of hydrogen indicates the number of hydrogen ions a substance forms.

-         The word “ACID” comes from the Latin word for “sour”






Rain Water

Rainwater naturally contains a weak acid called carbonic acid. However, the burning or fossil fuels produces gases, such as sulfur dioxide. When this combines with rain water it produces sulfuric-acid and ingredient or acid rain. Acid rain damages trees or lake life