Acid Rain And Its Effect On Our Environment Essay

Acid Rain And Its Effect On Our Environment Essay

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Usually when someone thinks of rain they think of the way it smells, the romantic movie scene where the guy and the girl kiss, or farmers think how blessed they are that they don’t have to pay for as much water to hydrate their crops and it increases their profit. When thinking about rain, we tend to look passed the different types and how they can negatively affect our environment. Acid rain is one of those types that negatively affects our environment and it is caused from the burning of fossil fuels, coal, and other wasteful gasses. What makes rain turn into acid rain is the mixture of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. 2/3 of the sulfur dioxide and 1/4 of the nitrogen oxides were produced from the burning of fuels and the use of electric power generators. These chemicals are mixed in the atmosphere by wind currents, oxygen, and finally water before falling to the ground. Figure 1 is a diagram that visualizes the directions and cycle of acid rain.
Figure 1
What chemically classifies acid rain as acidic is the pH value. The pH value is determined by the amount of hydrogen ion concentrations. The pH scale ranges from 0-14: 0 being basic, 14 being acidic, and 7 being neutral. The pH scale is logarithmic. This means that every change of 1 is actually ten times more or less. Pure water has a pH of 7 and acid rain has a pH of about 5.6. Since water is neutral, adding chemicals can make it either acidic or basic. Below is a scale that shows a few well known and used materials and their pH values.
Figure 2

In the article, The Latest Legacy of Acid Rain: Jellied Lakes by James MacDonald he explains how we had known the negative affects of acid rain but President Jimmy Carter made it more obvious and propos...


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...will be nothing left of our forests and lakes if we continue to pollute the air. We need to start caring more, and wasting less so we can preserve what we have left and not take the chances of losing it forever. We need to remember that in an ecosystem everything it tied together and when one thing is troubled, it harms the others as well.
Without the knowledge of chemistry I learned in the last year, I wouldn’t have know what pH is and how it can be diluted with a buffer. I also didn’t know that acid rain causes such big problems in our ecosystem such as killing plants, animals, harm our lakes and eventually it would follow down the cycle and affect humans. Throughout my year in general chemistry I have continuously learned that chemistry is in everything we do. Although it isn’t front and center, it’s still there and it plays a very big role in our everyday lives.

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