When rain starts to fall from the sky, our natural instinct is to get inside quickly. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to resist trying to catch a drop of rain on your tongue. Rain is thought to be clean, fresh, and safe when it falls from the sky, but there are actually tiny pieces of pollutants in each drop of rainwater. It’s all connected through the water cycle.
When water evaporates from the surface of lakes, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water, it is reasonably pure of contaminants. The water vapor then condenses into clouds, but traps impurities from the air within the water droplets. These impurities can be carbon, nitrogen or sulfur dioxides, as well as dust and other organic materials found in the air. Some of these pollutants, such as sulfur and nitrogen dioxides, are the result of various industries around the world emitting these chemicals into the atmosphere. When this contaminated rainwater falls to the earth, it can wreak havoc on ecosystems, drinking water, and even human-made structures.
To combat these pollutants, some industries have installed special filters and air scrubbers to help reduce the amount of dangerous air pollutants entering the atmosphere. If there are fewer pollutants in the atmosphere, water droplets will be less likely to pick up contaminants, keeping all of our water clean and safe to use!
Enhanced Learning Activities (recommended for Grades 3-7)