Acid RainFor years ever since most of the world has been industrialized, the effects ofpollution have plagued nations alike. Acid rain is one of the largestcontributors to this industrialized form of pollution. Throughout this report anexplanation of the devastating effects to the environment caused by acid rainwill be given along with what is being done to stop it. Acid rain is made whenpollutants arise from the use of coal in the production of electricity, frombase- metal smelting and from fuel combustion in vehicles. Once the sulfur andnitrogen oxides from these man made causes are released into the air they arecaught by wind currents and are blown hundreds of miles away. The gas pollutantsdrift along with clouds until the rain eventually converts the sulfuric dioxideinto sulfuric acid, and the nitrogen oxide into nitric acid.
The newlytransformed acid rain, acid snow or fog, falls to the earth where the effects onaquatic habitats, humans, animals, trees, crops, and other forms of plant lifeare devastating. When acid rain comes in contact with aquatic ecosystems thechemistry of the effects can be extremely complex. If one species or group ofspecies changes or dies out in response to the acid rain, then the whole entirebody of water, especially in lakes, is affected through the predator- preyrelationship of the food web. In some places where the acid deposition falls,natural substances absorb and neutralize the acid but in most places they buildup and the water becomes as sour as lemon juice.
In these instances the chanceof a food web being disrupted are more likely to happen. When the acidity of thewater is around the ph level of 6. 0 fish cannot lay eggs. When they can’treproduce and the acidity level grows then the fish out, and when in lakes areextremely difficult to be replaced. Around this acidity level plants also dieout and are poisoned.
Insects no longer have a food source and soon they aregone. The water fowl and other birds in the area that fed on fish and insects nolonger have a food source and they are the next to go. As the whole entire foodweb come toppling down the aquatic ecosystems become quiet; quiet as a grave. Acid rain also effects crops and other plant life. Surprisingly though acid raincan actually help out some crops such as strawberries, corn, and tomatoes. Othercrops like soybeans can be affected for the worse.
When they are watered withacid rain the size and number of the seeds and pods on the plants can cut inhalf or be totally wiped out. The effects on other terrestrial plant life can bealso very destructive. It accelerates soil weathering and removal of nutrientsalong with slowing down or stopping plant germination or reproduction. The waxysurface protecting the plants leaves can be altered, drastically lowering theplants disease resistance. Also toxic elements such as aluminum can be made moresoluble making the uptake of nutrients of plants much more difficult.
Many ofthe trees throughout the world are also greatly affected. In the green mountainsof Vermont, some scientists think that as much as thirty percent of forests havedied in the past twenty years because acid rain. Another large study has beenconducted in Northern Europe. In 1984, for example, reports said that more thanhalf of the trees in Germany’s Black Forests had been severely damaged by acidrain. Acid rain has also struck, in a major way, the northeastern past of theU.
S. and Canada. Besides for destroying most of our crops, acid rain effectshumans in many other ways. The air we breathe, when coming in contact with aciddeposition, can pollute our lungs as well as the water we drink.
What is reallybeing done to stop this killer? Industrial emissions have been mainly to blamefor the acid rain. To start, industries first took it upon themselves to startfurther studies on the problem, and because of the cost of pollution ourgovernment began to support them. In 1988 the U. S. , along with 24 othernations, made a protocol, freezing the rate of nitrogen oxide emissions, as partof United Nations- Sponsored long-range Transboundry Air Pollution Agreement. The 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act of 1967 put in place regulations toreduce the release of sulfur dioxide from power plants to 10 million tons peryear by January 1, 2000.
With our present and future efforts to make our plantlife, aquatic ecosystems, and humans safe from this killer, we will hopefullyfind a way to control or diminish acid rain. Bibliography”Acid Rain. ” Effects on Trees and Soils. Downloaded from America Online.
Thursday, February 4, 1999. “Acid Rain. ” Environment Canada. Downloaded fromAmerica Online. 1994-1999. ” Acid Rain.
” Microsoft Encarta 96 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation. 1993-1995. Woods, Harold. “Acid Rain.” Pollution.United States: Geraldine and Harold Woods, 1985.