Acid Rain and Its Harmful Effects on All Forms of Life

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Acid Rain and Its Harmful Effects on All Forms of Life Pollution comes in various forms. Whether it’s toxic waste, CFC’s, or sewage, they are all hazardous, to the earth. These can deplete the earth and it’s inhabitants of resources, causing a harmful change. A product of pollution is acid rain. We shall see that acidification is harmful to all forms of life. Acid rain is any form of precipitation that is polluted by sulphur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOX). This acid precipitation can be in the form of rain, snow, sleet, fog, or cloud vapors. The acidity of substances dissolved in water are measured by their pH levels. Normal precipitation pH levels fall between 5.0-5.6.2 When levels fall below these numbers, then the precipitation is said to be acidic. There are two ways in which acid deposition can form. The first way occurs when nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide land on the Earth’s surface, and interact with frost or dew. The second way takes place due to the oxidation of nitrogen oxides or sulphur dioxide gases that are released into the air.3 Since it may take up to several days for the gases to be altered into their acid counter-parts, the pollutants can travel miles away from their original source. Emissions of (SO2) are responsible for the majority of the acid deposition, which falls to Earth. When we burn coal, we are releasing (SO2), into the air, since coal is slight made up of sulphur. Volcanic eruptions can add a great deal of sulphur into the atmosphere. Everyday organic decay adds sulphur into the air as well. (SO2) can hit the Earth’s surface in dry forms or wet forms, by undergoing the following reactions: (SO2 + H20 *** H2SO3) (SO2 + ½O2 *** SO3 + H2SO4)2 Human activity is... ... middle of paper ... ...acid deposition is for industries to try to limit the emissions of pollutants. There has been two ways in which industries have done this. Several companies have switched to using fuels that have a low sulphur content. Other industries have used buffers on the tops of their smokestacks, to reduce the amount of (SO2) in the air.4 There is no way that we can totally eliminate acid deposition. We as humans, are not the only creators of this problem. Over the years, there has been an increase in the amount of annual precipitation. We can change our ways of production to help decrease the amount of acid precipitation, but then that would be greatly affecting our way of life. More then the acid rain itself does. Just like the cycle of affects the acid rain has on aquatic and terrestrial systems, there is the same type of cycle viewed when it comes to human life.

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