The Environmental Threat Of Acid Rain

3033 words - 12 pages

In recent years, a great amount of attention has been focused on environmental issues. Nightly we are informed of yet another creature in danger of extinction. Still, despite this increased awareness, the problem remains. One facet of this overwhelming dilemma is the problem of acid rain. Pollution has caused acid rain, which is destroying the ecosystem. Acid rain refers to all types of precipitation -rain, snow, sleet, hail and fog that have a pH of less than 5.6. Pollution caused acid rain is destroying the ecosystem, but today new methods have been developed to deal with this danger to our society and earth. “Acid Rain has been called the single most important environmental threat all over the world, and many are seeking solutions” (Luoma12). The number of lakes and ponds that are actually considered to be acidic is startling. The numbers are in the hundreds just in the Adirondack region of New York. For example, ”Big Moose Lake is also acidified that swimmers have come out of the water with bloodshot eyes“(Stewart15). Lakes and ponds similar to Big Moose Lake are all over. They have become devoid of all life including the aquatic plants. What areas can be affected by acid rain is based soley on its buffering capacity. The buffering capacity is based on how much the ground can help neutralize the acid. Most of the Eastern United States and Canada are covered by Granite, which does not help buffer the pH. Many regions are also mountainous and it is too steep for the rain to actually soak down and be neutralized. This is the major problem that is hurting many of the waterways around the Adirondack Mountain Region. However acid rain isn’t just a problem in the United States. Several other countries have recorded acidic pH readings such as Canada, England and Norway. With acid rain becoming a worldwide environmental problem many scientists are looking for solutions on how we can prevent it, or cure the existing problems we are currently facing. To understand the possible solutions to the problem we must first examine the causes. Acid rain is caused by a number of factors. It can be blamed mainly on large local burning Factories in the Midwestern United States. Coal burning and steel smelting factories have been pouring pollutants into the atmosphere for years. These factories emit tons of sulfur into the air everyday. This goes up into the atmosphere and turns into sulfuric acid which eventually falls in the form of acid precipitation. In the past, the environment has been able, to a certain extent , filter out some of man’s damage and cleanse itself. Unfortunately, the rate at which Nitrogen dioxide and Sulfuric dioxide have been dumped into the environment far exceeds the ability of nature to deal with and eliminate these chemicals. When did all this begin? Much of the increase of pollution can be found in the 18th century. As society moved into the industrial revolution in Europe and the United Stated, coal burning was greatly...

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