How Rain acts as a powerful weapon against Air Pollution?

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Rain in Pollution

In a recent incident, the capital city of India, Delhi, and its neighboring cities were covered with smog all around. The air pollution level of the city was at its peak and hazardous for the population to even breathe. After some days we hear that the city got showered by rain and the pollution level declined significantly. At first instance, it sounded like magic but it left a wide room of curiosity in my mind. So we decided to cover the topic of why and how rain reduces air pollution. And is it even a sustainable solution to this problem?

How Rain Reduces Air Pollution

Rain in smog

Air pollution can be caused by several pollutants from various sources such as vehicle emissions, factory pollution, etc. But if we see how rain manages to deal with air pollution is interesting.

Rain plays a crucial role in reducing air pollution through a process called Wet deposition. Wet Deposition is nothing but a technique in which pollutant present in the air gets locked within the raindrops and fall over the ground surface declining the level of impurities in the air.

Here are several ways through which Rain contributes to air purification.

1. Rain washes out Pollutants

Air polluted city

Being a natural cleanser, Rain washes out the pollutants from the air. It captures and absorbs pollutants such as smoke, dust, etc, and makes them settle to the ground cleaning the atmosphere.

Thus rain showering is simply washing out the pollutants from the air and improving the quality of it. It is like nature’s way of giving a bath to the atmosphere and the same was explained in an article from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which says “As a raindrop falls through the atmosphere, it can attract tens to hundreds of tiny aerosol particles to its surface before hitting the ground. The process by which droplets and aerosols attract is coagulation, a natural phenomenon that can act to clear the air of pollutants like soot, sulfates, and organic particles.”

2. Particulate Matters gets removed

Dusty air

Along with pollutants, there are several Particulate matters that exist in the atmosphere. These matters do not only degrade the quality of air but can also be dangerous if inhaled. After a prolonged rain, raindrops also capture these matters and clean them out just like the other pollutants.

These particulate Matters are also termed as PM2, PM2.5, PM10. PM stands for Particulate Matter and 2, 2.5, and 10 stands for diameter of particulate in microns.

3. Neutralizes Harmful Gases in the Air

Harmful gases causing air pollution

Rainwater is not simply water (H20). is slightly acidic in nature due to the presence of dissolved carbon dioxide which forms carbonic acid. This acidic nature helps in dissolving harmful gases forming chemical reactions with these gases and neutralizing them.

Can Rain wash away every Particle in the air?

Since we got to know how rain is a natural cleanser of our air. It is also important to understand that it cannot clean everything from the air. Rain is good at removing soluble pollutants that get mixed with water but insoluble pollutants are difficult to remove.

Thus it is not a perfect solution to all the air-related problems. In fact, other preventive and effective strategies like emission control and sustainable practices need to be followed.

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