Within this past century, acidity of the air and acid rain have become
recognized as one of the leading threats to our planet’s environment. No longer
limited by geographic boundaries, acid causing emissions are causing problems
all over the world. Some laws have been passed which limit the amount of
pollutants that are released into the air, but tougher legislation must be
implemented before this problem can be overcome.
Acid rain is produced, when automobiles, smelters, power plants, and
other industrial factories burn fossil fuels such as gasoline, coal, and fuel
oils. When combusted, the non renewable resources release pollutants such as
sulfur, carbon and nitrogen oxides into the air. These oxide combine with the
humidity in the air and form sulfuric, nitric and carbonic acid. This acidic
solution eventually condenses in the air and comes back down to the earth in any
from of precipitation (snow, rain, hail).
Upon returning to the earth, the acidic precipitation can have serious
repercussions on both the environment and as well as human structures. On
average, acid rain is about nine times more acidic than rain water, and has been
recorded as low as 2.5 on the pH scale (forty times more acidic than water.)
Acid deposition kill fish, soil bacteria, and as well as aquatic and terrestrial
plants. the acid also drain the soil of essential nutrients such as aluminum and
releases them into bodies of water such as streams, lakes, and ponds. These
bodies of water develop highly concentrated levels of these nutrients which can
really harm the aquatic life forms in that area Those areas without any alkaline
metal deposits in the soil to neutralize some of the acid are hurt the most by
this destructive force, destroying crops, trees and even killing an entire pond
or lake. Acid rain is also a strong destructive force against man made
structures, reacting with marble, plastics and rubber.
The problem of acid rain is derived mostly from northern countries such
as the united States, Canada, and many countries of Eastern and Western Europe
including Japan. The consequences of the acid precipitation have been most
apparent in Norway, Sweden, and Canada, however, due to tall smokestacks many
pollutants rise high into the atmosphere where air currents can pick them up and
carry them as far as into an entirely different country. This cross-border issue
is causing global concerns as it is no longer simply one country’s problem.
This concern has been well identified in North America where pollution
emissions from Canada and the U.S. are crossing into each others territory. For
example coal-powered electric generating stations found in Midwestern U.S seem
to be the cause of a severe acid rain problem in eastern Canada.
Acid rain is of strong concern worldwide, and something must...