10/04/2011

acid rain

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With the pollution of industry, acid rain has become a serious problem in our world today. Acid rain is precipitation with below-normal pH, often the result of industrial pollution and automobile exhaust. Highly acidic rain can damage or destroy aquatic life, forests, crops and buildings, as well as posing a threat to human health.





The process that results in the formation of acid rain generally begins with pollution into the atmosphere of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These Gases are released by automobiles, industrial operations such as refining oil into gasoline, and electric power plants that burn fossil fuels as coal and oil. The gases combine with water vapor in clouds to form sulfuric and nitric acids. When the two combine to form acid rain, it falls to the ground as precipitation such rain, snow, and sleet.





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Different countries have more problems with acid rain than others. Countries such as the United States have a greater problem than Egypt because the U.S. is much more industrialized and produces much greater amounts of pollution. With the tremendous amounts of acid rain in North America, it causes damage and billions of dollars of damage. In Canada, acid rain accounts for $1 billion worth of damage each year. Usually countries with less population and less industrialization have fewer problems with acid rain than those with larger populations and more industrialization.


Certain areas of the United States have more problems with acid rain than others. The most acid rain falls in the East Coast of the United States. The pollutants released from the Mid-western power plants rise high into the air and are carried by winds toward the East Coast of the U.S. When winds blow the acid chemicals into areas where there is wet weather, the acids become part of the rain, snow or fog. In areas where the weather is dry, the acid chemicals may fall to Earth in gases or dusts.


Many environmental problems are caused by acid rain. Trees and soil are the most potent to damage from acid rain. When acid rain is absorbed into the soil it washes away vital nutrients present in the soil. Aluminum also present in soil is freed, because of the chemical reaction, and this toxic element to trees starves them because they don’t get the vital nutrients they need. Acid rain also damages materials such as fabrics. For example, flags that are put up are being eaten away by the acidic chemicals in the precipitation. Acid rain also effects fish. Acid molecules in the water cause mucus to form in their gills and this prevents the fish to absorb oxygen as well. If the buildup of mucus increases, the fish would suffocate.


Acid rain has many effects on humans. The main problem of acid rain is respiratory problems like asthma, dry coughs, headaches, eye, nose, and throat irritations. Another problem of acid rain is when the acid rain dissolves toxic metals such as aluminum into groundwater and then absorbed into fruits, vegetables, and the tissue of animals and humans. Aluminum present in the organs of the animals has been shown kidney problems and recently has been linked to Alzheimers disease.


The Clean Air Act is the primary federal law that protects our nations air quality.


This law regulates emissions of certain air pollutants because they are known to harm human and environmental health. Starting three years ago the amount of sulfur dioxide produced by our nations power plants was reduced to 8.5 million tons” EPA”, which is almost half of the previous allowance. With these reductions made, pollution from sulfur dioxide has reduced over 0%. The Sierra Club also plans action to help stop pollution from sulfur dioxide. Some of the main ideas that they have are for more emissions tests on older power plants that use fossil fuels. Another idea is to establish a National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particles such as sulfur dioxides and nitrates. In the future some power plants that use fossil fuels to make energy could be shut down to reduce pollution.


There are many things that can be done to reduce or help eliminate acid rain. One thing would be, whenever possible, use public transportation, carpool, walk or ride a bike instead of driving your car by yourself. By doing this you would reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide that is put into the atmosphere. Another would be to take charge and turn off lights, computers, and other appliances when youre not using them. Also, using alternative energy resources like solar power, wind power, and hydropower are great and free sources of energy. In the future many new and radical ideas may be proposed to eliminate acid rain, and it is our job to support congress and let the proposals go through. The final and most important thing would be to just use common sense and be educated about the environment and what you as a person can do to reduce pollution.


With the future ahead things could be done to eliminate acid rain. We have to possibility to eliminate it by getting rid of fossil fuels such as oil and coal. This has not been done in my opinion because many people just don’t think that these ideas could in fact work, like solar power and hydropower to make energy. In cars, hydrogen is and could be used, but many people think that this idea would never work because the car wouldn’t be able to go very fast. With all of the pollution and acid rain in the world now people shouldn’t think about fast cars, but about what the fast approaching future will bring.





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