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Acid Rain And It’s Effects Essay, Research Paper
Acid rain looks, feels, and tastes just like clean rain, but there is a difference that is found on the pH scale. Acid rain is formed by one of three processes. In some cases hydrochloric acid can be directly let off into the atmosphere. Mostly nitrogen oxides or sulfuric dioxides are released into the atmosphere in the form of gases. After being released into the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide settle on the land and come in contact with dew that is also known as acid rain.
Acid rain affects many different ecosystems present on the Earth’s surface. One of the greatly affected ecosystems is the forest and soil. Sulfuric acid is the cause of the damage to the trees. When it falls like rain it washes away the nutrients trees need to live on. The trees are then starved to death, due to the lack of nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. Studies have showed that calcium and magnesium nutrients are washed away from their growing spots when sulfuric acid enters the system. Nitrogen oxide and nitric oxide, also components of acid rain, can force trees to grown even thought they do not have sufficient nutrients.
Another of the effects of acid rain is on lakes and aquatic ecosystems. There are several ways in which the acidic chemicals can enter the lakes. Some chemical substances exist as dry particles in the air, while others enter the lakes as wet particles such as rain, snow, sleet, hail, dew or fog. Lakes can almost be thought of as the sinks of the earth, where rain that falls on land is drained through the sewage systems eventually make their way into the lakes. Avid rain that falls onto the earth washes off the nutrients out of the soil and carries toxic metals that have been released from the soil into the lakes. Another harmful way in which acids can enter the lakes is spring acid shock. When snow melts in spring, the acids and chemicals in the snow are released into the soils. The melted snow then runs off to the streams and rivers, and gradually makes its way into the lakes.
It can take years for an acidic lake or stream to recover naturally, even if the acid rain stops. People have brought some lakes and streams back to neutral or basic conditions more quickly than nature could alone. They have added powder limestone to the water in a process called liming. The people of Norway and Sweden have been successful in restoring hundreds of lakes and streams with the liming process. Not many lakes and streams have been limed in the United States. It is expensive and is only temporary. As long as acidic rain continues to fall, limestone must be reapplied or the water will again be acidic.
Many people sometimes worry and always ask, “How does acid rain affect me?” Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, are the major sources of acid rain, they can irritate or even damage our lungs. The World Bank estimates that china, which probably has the dirtiest air pollution in 1995, caused 178,000 premature deaths among city dwellers.
Living things are not the only things that re being affected by acid rain and depositions. Many famous buildings are destroyed. Acid rain can have severe effect on buildings and materials such as stone, stained glass, paintings, and other objects that are damaged or even destroyed. It slowly but gradually eats away at the material. In certain parts of the world buildings are being damaged by acidic rain.
It may seem like there is not much that civilians can do to stop the acid rain. However acid rain is caused by the actions of people. Theses people can take parts and action in solving the problem. Each person who turns off the lights when no one is using them and uses energy-saving appliances reduces the amount of electricity a power plant has to produce. When less power is produced, pollution from power plants decrease. Car-pooling, using public transportation and walking can reduce the pollution that comes from vehicles.
The only way to solve the problem of acid rain is to educate. By keeping the public informed about how they as individuals can help. We cannot ignore this environmental atrocity.
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