Acid Rain Causes And Effects

Acid rain is the result of the burning of fossil fuels, which release nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. When the two compounds react in the atmosphere, with water, oxygen, and oxidants, they form acid rain, or acid deposition. Electric utility plants mostly emit the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides

Acid rain is deposited back to earth in a wet form (rain, snow, and sleet). Acid deposition is deposited as a fog or gas. Because acid deposition is solid particles that can settle out on surfaces, it is often more acidic and damaging than acid rain.

Scientists can determine the acidity of rain by measuring the pH value. As the acidity in rain increases, the pH level decreases. Therefore, acid rain has a lower pH value, than normal rain

Acid rain is a serious, and damaging national problem. I dont think people are fully aware of the serious consequences that acid rain have on many different factors.

For one, Acid rain causes acidification of lakes, streams, and other bodies of water. Because many lakes and streams suffer from chronic acidity (a condition which water has a constant low pH level) this makes them susceptible to acid rain because of their limited ability to neutralize acidic compounds. This results in many lakes and streams being completely dead of fish and all other living things.

Acid rain also greatly contributes to forest degradation, even more so to high-elevated trees, it also impairs the tree growth. Acid rain effects forest soil. As acid moves through soils, it strips away vital plant nutrients through chemical reaction, resulting in a threat to future forest productivity.

Acid rain is also capable of eroding metals, including iron (the most important structural metal) stone and paint. Because of this acid rain accelerates the decay of building materials, statues, sculptures, and irreplaceable cultural monuments. It has damaged the Parthenon in Greece, the Taj Mahal in India, and also the U.S. Capital. It also damages buildings, bridges, railroads, and vehicles of all kinds.

The most serious of acid rain effects, is the effect on human health. The elderly and ill have respiratory tissue that is sensitive to acids. Also, infants do not have enough coating on their respiratory tract to protect them from acids. Because sulfur dioxide interacts in the atmosphere to form sulfate aerosols, which are particles that can be inhaled, these sulfate aerosols are associated with sickness and mortality from lung disorders, such as asthma, and bronchitis.

There was a Clean Air Act of 1990 that was passed in order to reduce the sulfur dioxide emission by a significant amount. It will hopefully benefit all of the factors that I have stated. Decreasing the acidification of water bodies, reduce the damage to forests, increase the life span of buildings, and structures, and most importantly protect public health

I myself was unaware of the severity of acid rain until I studied it further. There are two sides to the argument. Some are stating that scientists do not have enough evidence to state that these problems are a result from acid rain.

From all of the articles that I have read, I think there is more than enough evidence to show that acid rain is a problem that not only needs to be taken more serious, but also, people need to be more educated and aware of the severity of it.

Sources

  1. Internet web pages:
  2. http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/effects/envben.html
  3. http://www.csef.org/csefhome/eb3ar.html