The Effects Of Acids On The Environment

2443 words - 10 pages

The Effects of Acids on the Environment

(a). Introduction

Acidic pollutants can be deposited from the atmosphere to the Earth's surface in wet and dry forms. The common term to describe this process is acid deposition. The term acid precipitation is used to specifically describe wet forms of acid pollution that can be found in rain, sleet, snow, fog, and cloud vapor. An acid can be defined as any substance that when dissolved in water dissociates to yield corrosive hydrogen ions. The acidity of substances dissolved in water is commonly measured in terms of pH (defined as the negative logarithm of the concentration of hydrogen ions). According to this measurement scale solutions with pHs less than 7 are described as being acidic, while a pH greater than 7.0 is considered alkaline. Precipitation normally has a pH between 5.0 to 5.6 because of natural atmospheric reactions involving carbon dioxide. Precipitation is considered to be acidic when its pH falls below 5.6 (which is 25 times more acidic than pure water). Some sites in eastern North America have precipitation with pHs as low as 2.3 or about 1000 times more acidic than natural.

Acid deposition is not a recent phenomena. In the 17th century, scientists noted the ill effects that industry and acidic pollution was having on vegetation and people. However, the term acid rain was not coined until two centuries later when Angus Smith published a book called 'Acid Rain' in 1872. In the 1960s, the problems associated with acid deposition became an international problem when fishermen noticed declines in fish numbers and diversity in many lakes throughout North America and Europe.
(b). Acid Deposition Formation
Acid deposition can form as a result of two processes. In some cases, hydrochloric acid can be expelled directly into the atmosphere. More commonly it is due to secondary pollutants that form from the oxidation of nitrogen oxides (NOx) or sulphur dioxide (SO2) gases that are released into the atmosphere (see Figure *formaciddep.html*). The process of altering these gases into their acid counterparts can take several days, and during this time these pollutants can be transferred hundreds of kilometers from their original source. Acid precipitation formation can also take place at the Earth's surface when nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide settle on the landscape and interact with dew or frost.
Emissions of sulphur dioxide are responsible for 60-70 % of the acid deposition that occurs globally. More than 90 % of the sulphur in the atmosphere is of human origin. The main sources of sulphur include:
Coal burning - coal typically contains 2-3 % sulphur so when it is burned sulphur dioxide is liberated.
The smelting of metal sulfide ores to obtain the pure metals. Metals such as zinc, nickel, and copper are all commonly obtained in this manner.
Volcanic eruptions - although this is not a widespread problem, a volcanic eruption can add a lot of sulphur to the atmosphere in...

Find Another Essay On The Effects of Acids on the Environment

Human Impact on the Environment: The Effects of Nuclear Testing on the Environment

1556 words - 6 pages The effects on the environment of nuclear radioactive waste can be assumed as significant and massive just by understanding how much power a nuclear bomb has within it. There are major settings in which to conduct nuclear tests; atmospheric testing, underground testing, upper atmospheric testing, and underwater testing. All of these testing methods have different impacts on their surrounding environments.The first way to test a nuclear bomb is

The Effects of Dental Amalgam on the Environment

1598 words - 6 pages The Effects of Dental Amalgam on the Environment The disposal of dental amalgam, specifically the mercury component, has become a controversial topic in the past twenty years. Due to the concern this issue brings, many studies have taken place regarding the effect of mercury on the environment and in humans. Amalgam is the most common material used in restorative dentistry due to its low cost, ease of use and stability (Chin et al., 2000

The Effects of Ocean Pollution on the Environment

2069 words - 8 pages the industrial pollution. There have been many major oil spills all within the last century. For example, the Gulf War, Atlantic Empress, Fergana Valley, Nowruz Oil Field, ABT Summer, and more, all in which have spilled between 40 million to 336 million gallons of oil. (Casselman) Oil spills have major impacts on marine life. The three main direct effects include ingestion, absorption, and inhalation. If an animal swallows oil they can experience

Positive and Negative Effects of Golf Courses on the Environment

985 words - 4 pages Golf courses in America hold themselves to a high standard when it comes to maintaining the thick, weed free and lusciously manicured turf in the fairways of their course. There has been increased focus on pesticides on golf courses since the early 1990s. In recent years however, Golf Course managers have began to realize the effect that they were having on the environment, both positive and negative. Many managers have began to consult with

1.) Effects of mobile sources on global warming, the environment

1282 words - 5 pages 1.) Effects of mobile sources on global warming, the environment and humans Mobile sources, the leading contributor of air pollution, produce several important air pollutants, such as, air toxics and green house gases. Air toxics are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health problems such as heart problems, asthma symptoms, eye and lung irritation, and premature death. Air toxics are also harmful to the environment

The Effects of Affluenza on Our Fragile Environment

1181 words - 5 pages The Effects of Affluenza on Our Fragile EnvironmentIntroductionImagine a world where the impacts of pollution have caused global warming to get to such an extent where it causes the ice caps to melt. This problem will cause the sea levels to rise and as a result thousands of homes will be underwater never to be lived in again. Affluenza is usually described as an endorsement of the flow of wealth that causes a division of classes, and loss of

Rainforest Depletion: Adverse Effects on the Environment

1393 words - 6 pages Missing Charts Rainforest Depletion: Adverse Effects on the Environment Introduction The depletion of tropical rainforests by third world countries, as well as by American industry, has been a growing area of concern for many environmental organizations. Animal rights activists are livid at the frightening rate in which species are becoming extinct in these regions. Conservationists argue that the foliage is disappearing at rates

Television's Effects on the Natural Environment

1212 words - 5 pages Television's Effects on the Natural Environment You may be thinking, “How on earth could the TV have an affect on our natural environment?” and you have every right to. At first glance, it may seem impossible that the TV can have an effect on our natural surroundings; but, nevertheless, it does. One of the ways that the TV can have an effect on our surroundings is by the amount of power that is needed to run all of the TV’s in

The Environment And The Effects Of Globalization

912 words - 4 pages business puts on their environment. This not only effects that countries environment, but it also effects the rest of the world, which in turn effects globalization. If one country is hurting from environmental strain then other countries that do business with them will also hurt. It is like a domino effect of international business, if one is doing bad then other businesses with also suffer. Adhering to the labor and environmental regulations

The Negative Effects of Genetically Modified Organisms on our Bodies and on the Environment

2239 words - 9 pages soybeans. Genetically Modified Organisms must be monitored soon as possible because they are bad for our bodies, our environment, and our foods that we eat on an everyday basis. Genetically modified organisms are bad for our bodies. The Institute of Biotechnology demonstrates that there are 3 components of a genetically modified organism , a gene to transfer, an organism you want to put it into, and the vector to carry out the gene. A transgene

The Effects of Bullying on the Social Learning Environment of the Workplace

2195 words - 9 pages topic suggests that by investigating the behavior and finding ways to govern and discipline those responsible for the behavior, it will taper. However, further investigative research on informal learning suggests a long-term effect on the workforce. This paper explores the effects of bullying on the social learning environment of the workplace. Literature Review Learning is like the air we breathe, it is natural, abundant, and happens

Similar Essays

Srp Literature Review: The Effects Of Acids On Molds

916 words - 4 pages There is inadequate research/information on molds and how they are affected by acids. There is not sufficient information on the elimination or prevention of molds on household and grocery items. To test possible solutions, the growth of mold will be examined using different acids to help keep the mold at a low quantity. Two different substances, one with a high acidity and one with a low acidity, will be used along with water as our “mold

The Effects Of Overpopulation On The Environment

697 words - 3 pages The Effects of Overpopulation on the Environment The world population reached 6 billion, on October 12, 1999. It will reach 9.3 billion by 2050. The impacts of continued population growth are already felt by a majority of nations. Overpopulation is the root cause of most environmental problems. The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources, clean air and water, as well as access to

Effects Of Plastic Bottles On The Environment

1579 words - 6 pages Being convenient enough for everyday use and even tasting better to some, plastic bottles are a popular way of consuming beverages. They are convenient and to some people, can even taste better. However, the process of manufacturing and transporting the millions of bottles produced is detrimental to the environment. Continued use of plastic bottles could exponentially hurt the planet. Given all the negative effects that come from plastic, why

Effects Of Pollution Damage On The Environment

947 words - 4 pages Pollution is the induction of harmful material or by-products discharged into the earth's environment. Pollution is one of the foremost problems in America and the world today. Pollution damages the environment and human health. Pollution has caused a multitude of problems ranging from healthcare issues like lung cancer to the current problem of the green house effect. Pollution is everywhere and humankind persists on living with this problem