Acid Rain 2 Essay, Research Paper
Acid rain is a serious problem with disastrous effects. Each day this serious problem
increases, many people believe that this issue is too small to deal with right now this
issue should be met head on and solved before it is too late. In the following paragraphs I
will be discussing the impact has on the wildlife and how our atmosphere is being
destroyed by acid rain.
CAUSES Acid rain is a cancer eating into the face of Eastern Canada and the North
Eastern United States. In Canada, the main sulphuric acid sources are non?ferrous
smelters and power generation. On both sides of the border, cars and trucks are the main
sources for nitric acid(about 40% of the total), while power generating plants and
industrial commercial and residential fuel combustion together contribute most of the
rest. In the air, the sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can be transformed into sulphuric
acid and nitric acid, and air current can send them thousands of kilometres from the
source.When the acids fall to the earth in any form it will have large impact on the
growth or the preservation of certain wildlife.
NO DEFENCE Areas in Ontario mainly southern regions that are near the Great Lakes,
such substances as limestone or other known antacids can neutralize acids entering the
body of water thereby protecting it. However, large areas of Ontario that are near the
Pre?Cambrian Shield, with quartzite or granite based geology and little top soil, there is
not enough buffering capacity to neutralize even small amounts of acid falling on the soil
and the lakes. Therefore over time, the basic environment shifts from an alkaline to a
acidic one. This is why many lakes in the Muskoka, Haliburton, Algonquin, Parry Sound
and Manitoulin districts could lose their fisheries if sulphur emissions are not reduced
ACID The average mean of pH rainfall in Ontario’s Muskoka?Haliburton lake country
ranges between 3.95 and 4.38 about 40 times more acidic than normal rainfall, while
storms in Pennsilvania have rainfall pH at 2.8 it almost has the same rating for vinegar.
Already 140 Ontario lakes are completely dead or dying. An additional 48 000 are
sensitive and vulnerable to acid rain due to the surrounding concentrated acidic soils.?
ACID RAIN CONSISTS OF….? Canada does not have as many people, power plants or
automobiles as the United States, and yet acid rain there has become so severe that
Canadian government officials called it the most pressing environmental issue facing the
nation. But it is important to bear in mind that acid rain is only one segment, of the
widespread pollution of the atmosphere facing the world. Each year the global
atmosphere is on the receiving end of 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide, 130 million tons
of suffer dioxide, 97 million tons of hydrocarbons, 53 million tons of nitrogen oxides,
more than three million tons of arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, zinc and other
toxic metals, and a host of synthetic organic compounds ranging from polychlorinated
biphenyls(PCBs) to toxaphene and other pesticides, a number of which may be capable
of causing cancer, birth defects, or genetic imbalances.COST OF ACID RAIN Interactions of pollutants can cause problems. In addition to
contributing to acid rain, nitrogen oxides can react with hydrocarbons to produce ozone,
a major air pollutant responsible in the United States for annual losses of $2 billion to 4.5
billion worth of wheat, corn, soyabeans, and peanuts. A wide range of interactions can
occur many unknown with toxic metals. In Canada, Ontario alone has lost the fish in an
estimated 4000 lakes and provincial authorities calculate that Ontario stands to lose the
fish in 48 500 more lakes within the next twenty years if acid rain continues at the
present rate.Ontario is not alone, on Nova Scotia’s Eastern most shores, almost every
river flowing to the Atlantic Ocean is poisoned with acid. Further threatening a $2
million a year fishing industry. ? Acid rain is killing more than lakes. It can scar the
leaves of hardwood forest, wither ferns and lichens, accelerate the death of coniferous
needles, sterilize seeds, and weaken the forests to a state that is vulnerable to disease
infestation and decay. In the soil the acid neutralizes chemicals vital for growth, strips
others from the soil and carries them to the lakes and literally retards the respiration of
the soil. The rate of forest growth in the White Mountains of New Hampshire has
declined 18% between 1956 and 1965, time of increasingly intense acidic rainfall. Acid
rain no longer falls exclusively on the lakes, forest, and thin soils of the Northeast it now
covers half the continent.
EFFECTS There is evidence that the rain is destroying the productivity of the once rich
soils themselves, like an overdose of chemical fertilizer or a gigantic drenching of
vinegar. The damage of such overdosing may not be repairable or reversible. On some
croplands, tomatoes grow to only half their full weight, and the leaves of radishes wither.
Naturally it rains on cities too, eating away stone monuments and concrete structures, and
corroding the pipes which channel the water away to the lakes and the cycle is repeated.
Paints and automobile paints have its life reduce due to the pollution in the atmosphere
speeding up the corrosion process. In some communities the drinking water is laced with
toxic metals freed from metal pipes by the acidity. As if urban skies were not already
grey enough, typical visibility has declined from 10 to 4 miles, along the Eastern
seaboard, as acid rain turns into smogs. Also, now there are indicators that the
components of acid rain are a health risk, linked to human respiratory disease.
PREVENTION However, the acidification of water supplies could result in increased
concentrations of metals in plumbing such as lead, copper and zinc which could result in
adverse health effects. After any period of non?use, water taps at summer cottages or ski
chalets they should run the taps for at least 60 seconds to flush any excess debris. ?
STATISTICS Although there is very little data, the evidence indicates that in the last
twenty to thirty years the acidity of rain has increased in many parts of the United States.
Presently, the United States annually discharges more than 26 million tons of suffer
dioxide into the atmosphere. Just three states, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are responsible
for nearly a quarter of this total. Overall, two?thirds of the suffer dioxide into the
atmosphere over the United States comes from coal?fired and oil fired plants. Industrial
boilers, smelters, and refineries contribute 26%; commercial institutions and residences
5%; and transportation 3%. The outlook for future emissions of suffer dioxide is not a
bright one. Between now and the year 2000, United States utilities are expected to double
the amount of coal they burn. The United States currently pumps some 23 million tons of
nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere in the course of the year. Transportation sources
account for 40%; power plants, 30%; industrial sources, 25%; and commercial
institutions and residues, 5%. What makes these figures particularly distributing is that
nitrogen oxide emissions have tripled in the last thirty years.
FINAL THOUGHTS Acid rain is very real and a very threatening problem. Action by
one government is not enough. In order for things to be done we need to find a way to
work together on this for at least a reduction in the contaminates contributing to acid
rain. Although there are right steps in the right directions but the government should be
cracking down on factories not using the best filtering systems when incinerating or if the
factory is giving off any other dangerous fumes. I would like to express this question to
you, the public:WOULD YOU RATHER PAY A LITTLE NOW OR A LOT LATER?