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Acid Rain Essay, Research Paper

Acid Rain

As the century past, the industrial society kept advancing. However,

many advantages of the industrial society brings us also has a down side. One

of the adverse effects of industrialization is acid deposition due to power

plant, fossil fuel and automobile emissions. Acid rain is the popular term but

the scientists prefer the term acid deposition. Acid rain can have adverse

effects on the environment by damaging forests or by lowering the pH of the

lakes and making the water too acidic for many aquatic plants and animals to


The father of acid rain research is an Englishman named Charles Angus

Smith who suggested in, 1852, that sulfuric acid in Manchester, English, was

causing metal to rust and dyed goods to fade. One source that causes acid rain

are fossil fuel. Fossil fuel has many usage in our society. Such as to power

electric power plants, industrial boilers, smelters, businesses, schools, homes

and vehicles of all sort. These various energy sources contribute 23.1 million

tons of sulfur dioxide and 20.5 million tons of nitrogen oxides to our

atmosphere worldwide. When fossil fuels are ignited like oil and coal, they

release carbon dioxide, a so-called greenhouse gas that traps heat within the

earth’s atmosphere which causes global warming that is taking place right now.

Also, it releases sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and various metals (mercury,

aluminum) that are released into the atmosphere that reacts with other airborne

chemicals (water vapor and sunlight) to produce sulfuric and nitric acid which

later can be carried long distance from their source and be deposited as rain

(acid rain) but acid doesn’t just came from rain but also in the forms of snow,

hail, fog, and mist.

Forests are a complex ecosystems that involves trees, soil, water, the air,

climate and other living organisms that support the community of wildlife:

animals, birds, insects and plants and also a major economic resource. The

countries hardest effected by acid rain is in the European countries, yet

central Europe face a much greater threat since it has a large amount of

forest area and about 8% of German’s forest face the lethal effect of

Waldsterben or forest death of acid rain. Acid rain kill about 50 million

hectares of forest that have been damaged in Europe and in Central and Eastern

Europe’s thousands of tons of pollution each year that 14,000 lakes are unable

to support sensitive aquatic life. Acid rain does not kill trees outright but

weakens them to the point where they become susceptible to extremes of heat or

cold, attacks from blight-causing or from inserts such as the gypsy moth, and

other environmental stresses. The problem of acid rain is caused by burning of

fossil fuel that emits SO2 and industrial factories from the North America that

emits pollution that travels to Europe. Acid rain is now becoming a growing

problem in Third World countries such as China and India due to rapidly

expanding populations where energy demands are increasing. Thus, the rate of

fossil fuel consumption have greatly increased and where pollution controls are

all non-existent have greatly to their problems with acid rain. Yet, most

emissions are primarily located in eastern North America, Europe, and China.

That is why acid rain is so threatening because it is concentrated and it has a

devastating effect on soil because most of the trees get their nutrients from

soil, which lakes, ponds, streams, and other waterways, which receives runoffs

from soils uphill which humans.

When gets into the lakes and river it destroy all living things and

declines in populations of fish, aquatic plant life and micro-organisms. Fish

just goes extinct because they simply fail to reproduce and become less and less

abundant, and older and older, until they die out. Changes in the biology of

the provided one of the first clues to the problem of acid pollution is linked

between the acidly of lakes and fish production. In the Ontario Ministry of the

Environment reported that 140 acidified lakes in the province has no fish at all,

and a further 48,000 lakes would not be able to tolerate extended acid inputs.

There are three stages in the acidification of surface water. The first stage,

is bicarbonate ions neutralize acids by reacting with hydrogen to produce carbon

dioxide and water. If the bicarbonate content is maintained at a critical

minimum level, the pH value of the water will remain stable, and plants, animals

and micro-organisms will be unaffected. The second stage, is when the

bicarbonate content drops below the critical level, and large influxes of

hydrogen ions can no longer be neutralized. The pH value begins to go down

faster then before this will disrupted the organisms and young fish. The third

stage comes when the pH value stabilizes around 4.5. Almost all the original

life is eliminated for example snails, many insects and fish disappear. The

water becomes abnormally clear but some lakes can be neutralize the acids with


Destruction of forests and lakes are not the only the cause of acid rain

but corrosion of buildings and monuments are also affected by the acid rain.

Almost every buildings of a major urban or industrial centre may be at risk from

the corrosive effects of acid deposition and the rate of corrosion has increased

dramatically in many urban area. The Athenian monuments is get worst in the

past 20-25 years result of pollution. Most of the corrosion of the city

buildings and monuments is the result of the dry deposition of SO2 and sulphate

particles, mainly cause by urban concentrations of pollutants. When the sulphur

pollutants fall on the surface of limestone or sandstone, they can react with

the calcium carbonate in the stone to form calcium sulphate (gypsum), which

sticks to the stone. This will causes flaking that can be washed away by

rainwater, exposing more stone to corrosion and also gypsum and soot particles

cause black crusts on buildings surface. Acid attack can also lead to stone

decay through the creation of salt, which can crystallize and force apart

mineral grains, causing the stone to disintegrate, salt can expand and contract

thereby weather the surface. Mainly this is cause by the release of sulfur and

nitrogen oxides by cars and industrial.

As our society get more advance there is also the effect of pollution

that rises, to stop the effect we need to find alternatives way to stop car

emission with new fuels and slowly removing fossil fuel that causing most of the

nitrogen oxides. The government need to put stricter laws on the industrial

that pollinated and removing harmful chemical from the earth. People should

find a efficiency and alternatives way to stop the pollution that is happening

around the world because the effect can be seen all round us starting with the

forest, lakes and in the heart of are city where the buildings and monuments are

being eating away by pollution.

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