Acid Rain and Pollution

Acid Rain and Pollution

Saying sulphates do not cause acid rain is the same as saying that smoking does not cause lung cancer. When our parents and grandparents were children, they never heard of ozone depletion, smog, greenhouse gases or acid rain. Acid rain is the result of a chemical reaction, which begins when compounds like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released into the air. These substances are able to rise very high into the atmosphere, which is where they mix and react with oxygen, water and other chemicals to form multiple acid pollutants known as acid rain. 

Human activities are the main culprit behind acid rain. Since the last few decades, human activities have resulted in the release of many chemicals into the air, which is why the composition of gases in the atmosphere has changed. Majority of the sulphur dioxide is released by power plants, whereas most of the nitrogen oxides are released after the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, in order to produce electricity. Moreover, the exhaustion from transport vehicles like cars, trucks and buses release nitrogen oxides, which is how sulphur dioxide is released into the air. Hence, acid rain is caused by these pollutants. 

Nature is highly dependent on balance, and even though acid rain is naturally acidic, human activities have made its prevalence even worse. The chemicals released from normal precipitation neutralise the acidic content, but when the precipitation becomes too acidic, neutralisation of such materials is impossible.  

The effects of acid rain are most clearly seen in aquatic environments considering crops, trees, rivers, lakes and animals are severely damaged. Since everything in an ecosystem is connected, damage to one species of plants and animals, the soil or water, damages everything else. Looking at the human damage, walking in acid rain or even swimming in a lake that has been affected by acid rain, is more dangerous than taking a stroll in normal rain or swimming in a non-acidic lake. Other harmful effects include a high risk of developing heart disease, asthma for people with breathing difficulties and poor lung function.

By: Maria Mushtaq

 

Beach Pollution

About 71% of the surface of the earth is surrounded with water. Around 90% of the life on earth is due to water.   However, its importance is not realized by most of the people around. 60% of the oxygen we breathe is generated by oceanic flora. Hence, it is really important to keep these oceans hygienic. Almost around 60% of the CO2 (carbon dioxide) is absorbed by these oceans as well. Massive amount of resources such as precious metals, minerals, salts, oil, gas are drawn out of the seas for economic purposes. UNESCO supported the fact that oceans through fishing/seafood industry supports the livelihood of 820 m people. Pakistan’s polluted coast lines are demonstrating the devastating consequences of humanly activities. Clifton beach in karachi is one of the highly polluted beaches in Pakistan. A study carried out by WWF–Pakistan revealed that 50% of the plastic pollution in and around the coastal areas of Karachi is beach trash. A 2016 study conducted by the NIO in Karachi, showed presence of pathogenic bacteria at nine sites along the coast. The study based on the analysis of sediments, water, flora and fauna found the Korangi creek station most polluted with coliform and other pathogenic bacteria. It also specifically mentions beach spots, where coastal water was found to be contaminated with domestic and industrial effluent. And by 2020, the situation has gotten worse Karachi produces around 500 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater. Around one fifth of water comes from these industries, while the rest is the domestic or municipal sewerage. Almost the entire sewerage and industrial waste water goes into sea without treatment, which has brought a natural disaster, as we are losing our fish catch and also it is affecting marine life. We should put efforts on our individual levels to clean the environment of beaches. As in our religion, cleanliness is half of faith. We must support cleanliness initiatives. We must stop excess plastic throwing so the marine life can be saved. We must urge everyone around to realize the strategic, economic, importance of these waters and raise awareness regarding the health, economic implications of polluted oceans/ beaches in Pakistan.

 

Written By: Mahnoor Ashraf

Mangroves and their Importance

If there are no mangroves, then the sea will have no meaning. It’s like a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea! Mangrove trees are salt tolerant and have an appearance of a bush. They strengthen in zones of tropical and subtropical localities. There are more than 15 million mangrove timber plantations around the world. Mangroves are said to have immense economic and ecological importance. Pakistani mangroves are located mainly along the delta of the Indus River. Some of the main mangrove forests are found on the coastline of the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan.


There are hundreds and thousands of people that depend on the mangrove natural environment for living. Since the past few centuries, mangrove trees have been of use for humans for getting fuel, timber, fodder for animals. Unfortunately, since the last five decades, the mangrove environment in Pakistan has been the victim of urbanization, and over exploitation and as a result, is fading very quickly. The amount with which it is being destroyed is discrepant with its actual value. Mangroves hold immense biological diversity. They are a source of food, nesting and nursery areas for most animals. These animals include more than 200 species of fish, 20 species of the reptile and amphibian family, more than 150 bird species and 15 mammal species. If mangroves are removed, we will find most of these species to become extinct since their source of survival has been destroyed. In turn, humans will also be affected indirectly as mangroves are also our source of food and water. One of the major roles of mangroves also lies role in areas that are prone to tsunamis. Mangrove forests lower the devastating impact tsunamis can have on coastal areas. They do so by absorbing some of the waves’ energy. As a result, the damage to properties in these areas is quite low.


When we destroy mangroves, we not only destroy the species along with their natural habitat, we destroy the complementary service that mangroves provide us with in difficult situations. With mangroves being destroyed, there will be a higher rate of floods and problems in water quality. Thus, the need to conserve mangroves arises. In order to prevent the destruction of mangroves, we need to consider certain steps such as afforestation, monitoring on a regular basis, soil conservation and legislation with laws and policies. Also, schools should be educating their students regarding mangroves and their importance as it is always better to look deep in to nature in order to understand everything better.

Written by: Maria A Mushtaq