Written by Tharushan Fernando
26 Mar, 2016 | 9:35 pm
According to expert opinion burning coal is a leading cause of smog, acid rain, and toxic air pollution.
However, Sri Lanka has drawn plans to construct a coal power plant in the country’s east, in Sampur.
“Acid rain” is a broad term referring to a mixture of wet and dry deposition from the atmosphere containing higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids. The precursors, or chemical forerunners, of acid rain formation result from both natural sources, and man-made sources, primarily emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) resulting from fossil fuel combustion.
Most acidic rain falling in many parts of the world has a pH of about less than three. Acid rain occurs when these gases react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds. The result is a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid.
Acid rains pose a severe threat to forests, animals and even humans. Acid rains have destroyed forests in Germany, Poland, Western Europe and even Canada. In West Germany alone, acid rains destroyed two million hectares of forest land.
Will Sri Lanka too become a victim of acid rains due to coal power plants like Sampur?
Experts point out that earth can become infertile due to acid rains and when acid rains mixes with water in rivers and water springs, the acid scale in the water would increase, affecting all aquatic life.
China has decided to close down all coal power plants in Beijing by 2016 while the USA has already closed down a coal power plant that generated 4677 mega watts of electricity. Britain has come to a decision to close down all its coal power plants by the year 2025.
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