Diluted HCl

My dad dropped me to college that day, in our new car. The new car smell and the fresh feeling of a new clutch vanished when I entered the Chemistry lab. I wore my lab coat, put on the gloves and prepared for a gruelling six hours of lab sessions.

But maybe I’d arrived early. The lab was empty, except for me. So I decided to while my time away by looking around the place. I spent some time fiddling with a pair of scissors. And soon enough, I cut myself on the little finger. Then I threw the scissors away and decided to stay away from sharp things.

That was when my attention shifted to a small white container. It had a tag on it that read :

0.1 M diluted HCl

I always wondered what it felt like to have acid on your skin. Of course, I would only take a small amount of it and put it on a small area of my palm. That couldn’t possibly hurt much, would it?

Slowly and steadily, I lowered one drop of 0.1 M diluted HCl onto my skin. The drop fell through a height of billion metres. At Least that is what it felt like when the drop hit my skin like a lump of lava, vaporizing a tiny portion of my epidermis. The patch burned so bad, It felt like someone had just extinguished a cigarette on my palm. I held the burning palm with the other and turned on the tap. As the water washed away the acid on my skin, the pain slowly subsided.

The acid that left my skin, was probably mixing with the water and flowing into the ocean through the drainage system, thereby decreasing the pH of the oceans by a tiny bit ( slightly acidifying them).

There must have been millions of students who drained their leftover acids into the drainage system. So by the end of the day, the ocean would have been significantly acidified. And the same acidified water would then rise up into the atmosphere, and rain down upon civilization as ‘Acid Rain’.

When the day ended, dad came back to pick me up in the new car. I refused. From that day onwards, I walked 3 miles to college and walked the same distance back to home. Yes, my legs hurt everyday. But at least I could enjoy the rain.

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