Acid rain forms when sulfur and nitrogen dioxides combine with
in the atmosphere to produce rain, snow, or another kind of precipitation.
kind of pollution may also be suspended in fog or deposited in a dry form.
rain is most common in North America and Europe. Acid rain has also been
detected in other areas of the world such as tropical rain forests of
Canada has placed limitations on the sulfur emissions. The United States
not, so the emissions may still drift into Canada.
The acid rain cycle begins with hundreds of power plants burning
millions of tons of coal. Burning coal produces electricity for us. Coal
made of carbon, but the coal that we mine is not pure carbon. It is mixed
other minerals. Two of these are sulfur and nitrogen. Then the coal is
some of the sulfur changes into sulfur dioxide and nitrogen changes into
nitrogen oxide. These escape in to the air as poisonous gases. Some
release chemicals like mercury, arsenic, and aluminum. Some of these
are changed in to gases and others become tiny specks of ash. As these
chemicals drift, they may change again. They may react with other
the air. When sulfur dioxide combines with water, the result is sulfuric
When nitrogen oxide gas combines with water, the result is also another
When the clouds releases rain or other precipitation, the acid goes with
This is called acid rain.
The level of acid is measured in pH levels. The pH scale begins at 0
and ends with 14. A reading lower than 7 is called acidic, and a reading
than 7 is called basic. Seven is neutral. Normal rain is slightly acidic
pH level of about 6.5. Rain with a pH of 5.5 is then times more acidic
normal rain and rain with pH of 4.5 is a hundred times more acidic than
rain. In parts of the country, rain with pH levels of 4.5 to 5.0 is common.
An English scientist named Robert Angus Smith discovered acid rain in
1872, but no other scientist continued this study. Then in 1961 the Sweden
wanted to know why the fish in their lakes were dying. Svante Odn
that the reason was acid rain. After Odn's discovery, other scientist
study acid rain too.
Acid rain has destroyed plant and animal life in lakes, damaged
and crops. It has also endangered marine life in coastal waters, eroded
structures, and contaminated drinking water. It can kill fish, frogs, and
insects in lakes. Acid rain can also be harmful to humans. It can hurt
lungs and make it harder for them to breath. Acid fog can be particularly
harmful to people with respiratory problems. Acid rain can corrode stones
some metals. Higher acid levels can be dangerous to our drinking water.
water pipes are made of lead, and when the water is acidic, it can dissolve
metal. Then the metals end up in the water we drink.
Acid Rain Legislation
Acid rain is a destructive force as a result of nature and man
It is formed through harmful industrial emissions combining with contents
the earth's atmosphere; a dangerous combination. This prompted governments
throughout North America to take action. Many laws and regulations have
implemented, yet the question still remains, "Should tougher legislation be
implemented to force industries to reduce acid rain emissions?"
To decide whether tougher legislation should be implemented, one must
first understand the details of what exactly acid rain is. Acid rain is a
result of mankind's carelessness. It travels a long one of the most
biogeochemical cycles on earth, the Hydrologic Cycle. This allows acid
distribute itself further away from it's source causing more than local
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is released by fossil fuels when they undergo
Power plants and other fossil fuel burning industrial areas release various
forms of nitrous oxides (Nox). These two chemical compounds combine with
water in the atmosphere to form what is known as acid rain.
The main reason that has prompted legislation of industrial emissions
from governments is because of the negative effects they can have on the
environment. Acid rain is harmful to the environment because of it's low
It can harm the biotic components of earth, and also the abiotic
It's high acidity degrades soil to the point where it cannot support any
plant life. Trees in forests are killed over long-term exposure. When
trees are killed, an imbalance in the hydrologic cycle can occur. Without
living trees to consume the precipitate, it must be consumed