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Acid Rain Essay

1083 words - 4 pages

INTRODUCTION: The dictionary definition of acid rain is “’rainfall made so acidic by atmospheric pollution that it causes environmental harm, chiefly to forests and lakes. The main cause is the industrial burning of coal and other fossil fuels, the waste gases from which contain sulphur and nitrogen oxides which combine with atmospheric water to form acids.” In Northern Europe and North America millions of trees have died because of the causes of acid rain. Some lakes contain so much acid that all the fish have died and the birds that relied on this fish for food have left. Acid rain also speeds up the rusting of iron and building made of marble, limestone and concrete have been severely affected. It is because of these reasons that acid rain is a big issue in today’s society.
CAUSES: Normal rain is usually slightly because of carbon dioxide in the air dissolves in rain to form carbonic acid, as in the equation: Carbon Dioxide + Water = Carbonic Acid. However large amounts of waste gases from industry and motor vehicles are making rain much more acidic than normal. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) dissolves in rainwater, like carbon dioxide, to form sulphurous acid. It also reacts with oxygen in the air to form sulphurous trioxide (SO3), which dissolves in rainwater as well to form sulphuric acid. Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) does all of these things as well. Power stations produce these gases as waste and as these gases mix with the air and the rain water it forms acid rain that when it falls to earth it harms our environment. The sulphur dioxide from factories and the nitrogen dioxide from car exhausts are to blame for the acid rain. Acid rain can be written in the equation: Water + Oxygen + sulphur dioxide = Sulphuric acid or (H2O + O2 + SO2 = H2SO4) and likewise with nitrogen dioxide being (H2O + O2 + NO2 = HNO3)
EFFECTS: As explained in the introductory paragraph, the acid rain is killing our trees and our fish in rivers and lakes. It can also make forest soils very sensitive and therefore makes certain plants quite hard to grow. It also accelerates the decaying of buildings, statues and sculptures made out of limestone, concrete or marble. Acid rain can also have an effect on human health. Acid rain looks feels and tastes much the same as normal rain however the sulphur dioxide and the nitrogen oxides in the rain and in the air can be transported easily in our atmosphere via wind and can easily be inhaled into our lungs which can increase the amount of asthma and bronchitis going around. Another effect of acid rain is that because rivers are more acidic and rivers travel out to sea therefore the ocean has also been recorded as slightly more acidic than in previous years. Because of this the more fragile ocean-life such as the coral reefs has been seen as degrading much faster than normal.
SOLUTIONS: Based on what acid rain is doing to our environment there are many solutions that have been created. One of these is that many factories have started to not...

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