This Essay Dicusses The Cause, Effects, And Prevention Of Acid Rain.

1438 words - 6 pages

Acid Rain is rainfall that has a pH of less than 5.6. Acid Rain, a major pollution factor in today's society damages everything in its path. For the last ten years acid rain has brought destruction over all the domesticated continents. Acid Rain is formed when oxides of nitrogen and sulfite combine with moisture in the atmosphere to make nitric and sulfuric acids. These acids can be carried far from their origins. For example, if formed in the United States they may not "rain down" until they hit Europe. In this essay, I will talk about the cause, effects, and prevention of Acid Rain.Two primary sources of Acid Rain are Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide. Sulfur Oxide is a colorless gas that is released as a by-product of combusted fossil fuels containing Sulfur. Industrial processes, like the production of iron, steel, utility factories, and crude oil processing produce this gas. In iron and steel production, the smelting of metal sulfate ore, produces pure metal. This releases Sulfur Dioxide. Sometimes Sulfur Dioxide can be released into the air by natural means. But volcanoes, sea spray plankton, and rotting vegetation only make up ten percent of today's problem. We were not doing poorly with the natural production of Sulfur Oxide, but adding on the addition seventy percent causes a problem. The other chemical mainly responsible (there are more minor chemicals yet they don't pose a significant threat) is Nitrogen Oxide. These gasses are by-products of firing processes of extremely high temperatures used by car and utility plants, and fertilizer production. Natural processes like volcanic activities and lightning make up only a small amount of five percent of Nitrogen Oxide production. The remainder is made up of our transportation and industrial combustion. The most is made up of transportation. Nitrogen Oxide is even dangerous by itself. It attacks the respiratory organs and creates the likelihood of respiratory illness. It damages the ozone and forms smog.Knowing that a pH of less than 5.6 is considered to be acid rain, the difference between regular rain and acid rain is the pH level. This can be monitored using a pH scale. A pH scale is usually color coordinated with numbers going from one to fourteen. Seven is the neutral point. It is considered to be "pure water". A pH of 6.5 to 8 is considered a "safe zone". In the safe zone organisms are in little or no harm. Even though no acidity sounds like a good thing it isn't. You must be in the safe zone to be...well, safe.The acidity of precipitation depends not only on emission levels, but also on the mixtures of Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide and the way they react in the atmosphere. Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide go through several complex steps of chemical reactions before they become the Acid in Acid Rain. The steps are broken down into two phases, the gas and aqueous phases. There are various reactions that can contribute to the oxidation of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere, each...

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