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(a) Damage to animals; Acid rain chemically strips waterways of necessary nutrients and lowers the pH to levels where plants and animals cannot live. Most of the aquatic animals cannot survive when the pH is less than 4. Some species of fish, such as salmon, die even when the pH is less than 5.5. Certain species of algae and zooplankton are eliminated at pH less than 6. A reduction in the zooplankton and bottom fauna ultimately affects the food availability for the fish population. The problem is most severe downwind of industrial areas where fishing and tourism are major sources of income such as in Norway and Sweden.

(b) Damage to plants; Acidic water is dangerous to plants. Sulphuric and nitric acid rain washes nutrients out of the soil, damages the bark and leaves of trees and harms the fine root hairs of many plants which are needed to absorb water. Leaf pigments are decolorized because acid affects green pigment (chlorophyll) of plants.

Agricultural productivity is also decreased. Several non-woody plants, such as barley, cotton and fruit trees like apple, pear, etc., are severely affected by acid rain. Since the acid concentration increases near the base of clouds by density, high altitude trees and vegetation may be exposed to pH levels as low as 3.

(c) Material damage; Metallic surfaces exposed to acid rain are easily corroded. Textile fabrics, paper and leather products lose their material strength or disintegrate by acid rain.
Building materials such as limestone, marble, dolomite, mortar and slate are weakened on reaction with acid rains because of the formation of soluble compounds.

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