Sunday, 2 December 2012

Hot spots for acid rain in Hyderabad: Osmania University researchers find out places which may get acid rain in future

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Major traffic junctions in Hyderabad are faced with
the threat of acid rains, warn researchers from Osmania University.

Heavy automobile pollution in major traffic junctions like Koti,
Abids, Punjagutta, Liberty and Secunderabad and Hyderabad railway
stations are likely to get acid rains in near future. However, unlike
Delhi, which received acid rains recently, there is no threat at
present to a major part of Hyderabad thanks to its largely granitic
terrain.

A team of researchers from the applied geochemistry department of
Osmania University conducted studies on rain samples collected from
about 20 locations spread over 150 sq km. Heavy concretization in busy
junctions including Koti and Punjagutta has resulted in little soil
exposure to the sky. This may lead to acid rains in near future. The
team comprised B Srinivas, M. Ramana Kumar, Ravi Kumar and RSN Sastry.

They found higher concentration of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen and
a strong relation between them and hydrogen ions in places of heavy
vehicular traffic. There is also presence of lead and nitrate in the
rain samples.

The presence of granitic soils in Hyderabad and surrounding areas have
been reducing the threat of acid rains over the city, they said adding
that the ions of magnesium, calcium and potassium released by granitic
soils into the atmosphere neutralize the acids. “Our calculations
suggest potential acid neutralizing capacity of alkaline elements
mostly released from granitic soils to atmosphere in the form of
dust,” they said.  The OU team published its findings in the latest
issue of prestigious scientific publication, The Journal of Applied
Geochemistry.

Analysis of the rainwater in Hyderabad and Secunderabad revealed the
presence of a number of chemicals. The rainwater was slightly acidic.
The areas covered under the OU study are ECIL, Habsiguda, Ghatkesar,
Saidabad, Vanasthalipuram, Karmanghat, Kanchan Bagh, Sultanshahi,
Bahadurpura, Chilkur, VN Colony, Ramkote, Domalguda, Khairatabad,
Punjagutta, Vengalraonagar, Begumpet, Sanathnagar, Kukatpally and
Ramnagar.

The areas where dust from granitic soils is released into the
atmosphere are safe from acid rains, as the chemicals present in the
granitic dust interact with the acidic compounds in the rain and make
it neutral. However, in heavy concrete areas, where there is little
exposure of granitic dust to the atmosphere, acid rains may fall in
near future, causing damage to people, animal and plant health.

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