Acid Rain 4

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The Acid Rain Pain With scientists and so-called “experts” on the environment disagreeing on so many issues, it is easy for the public to be lost in the fray of what is truth and what is media hype. Though the term “acid rain” has been present in our society since the early 1970’s, many people are not exactly clear on what it is what causes it, and the detrimental effects acid rain has on our environment. More confusing than all of the facts and scientific theories surrounding acid rain is the development of a suitable solution to reduce air pollution, which in turn leads to acid rain. Many experts do not agree that acid rain has in fact been caused by man made pollution because of the fact that rain is naturally acidic. This widespread disagreement delayed international action to reduce pollution for some time. However, with the coming of the 1970’s an awareness of acid rain spread, and with that awareness, possible solutions were proposed. These solutions involved making environmental changes on the international, industrial, and personal levels. Just how does acid rain form, and what consequences does it pose to our environment? There are numerous theories as to the cause of acid rain. However, the most prevalent is the theory that electric generating plants, heating plants, and other industrial plants have been emitting an excess amount of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s) into the atmosphere. Once these chemicals are in the air, they react with water to form acids and fall back to the earth as precipitation. People who believe acid rain is a natural phenomenon do so because of the fact that carbon dioxide in the air combines with water vapor and produces carbonic acid (Bolch 95). There are several environmental risks that come with acid rain. One of these is the acidification of lakes, resulting in the lakes’ inability to sustain the aquatic life. In fact, Norway reported that 18,000 out of 85,000 of their lakes were acidified, and more than half of their fish population has disappeared (Brunee 23). Ground water can also become more acidic because of the way acid rain depletes the natural buffer system of the soil. Studies done in the early ‘70’s indicate immense damage done to the forests, especially in Eastern Europe and in Germany. A sort of “tree disease” has been destroying a large percentage of the coniferous trees.

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