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    Acid Rain (870 words) Essay

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    Acid RainModern society is becoming overwhelmed with great amounts of pollution fromcars, factories and an overabundance of garbage. The immense amounts of sulphurdioxide emitted into the air causes high levels of acid in the atmosphere. Whenthis sulphuric acid is absorbed into moisture in the air, poignant rainfalls canbe damaging to the external environment. Acid rain is destroying the world=slakes, air and ecosystem.

    Acid rain is killing lakes and decreasing the numberof inhabitants in these fresh water bodies. Acid rain causes an ample deductionin the pH levels in the water. At a neutral level the pH in water should beclose to seven, yet in these acidic water bodies the pH levels can be as low asfour. These pH levels of four contain more than ten percent acids than that ofnormal rain and one thousand times more acid than neutral water. Each decade thepH levels of lakes around Ontario have become ten times more acidic. The highacid levels contained in lakes also causes a decrease in the number of fishdwelling in these lakes.

    Also Aacid produces chemical changes in the blood ofthe fish, and their basic body metabolism is [emailprotected] (Howard & Perley,1980, p. 24), and can cause deformities in these inhabitants. They have twistedand arched backbones, flattened heads and strangely curved tails. In pH levelsof four there is little left in the lakes besides rock bass, pumpkinseed andlake herring. Affected fish are also in danger of becoming sterile, which wouldput the species at risk of becoming extinct.

    As with sulphur dioxide in rain,mercury is also discharged into the water. There is a direct connection betweenthe mercury rich lakes as there is with those with high acidic levels. Thismetal becomes concentrated in the blood and tissues of fish. Acid rain causestraumatic effects in natural lakes and rivers. Acid rain causes air quality todeteriorate.

    As in water, acid rain causes the pH levels in the air to decrease. The sulphur dioxide, which diffuses into the air, mixes with moisture causingthe pH levels to drop from the normal level. Again, the normal level issomewhere around seven, yet in some acidic air masses the levels can be as lowas three. These lowered pH levels form a photochemical smog in the atmosphere.

    In the air Anitrogen oxides react with ozone and some hydrocarbons in thepresence of sunlight to form photochemical smog, the kind of yellow-grey hazewhich it literally alive and growing in stagnant air [emailprotected] (Howard &Perley, 1980, p. 44). This smog carries serious risk for respiratory disease andcrop damage. The photochemical smog is also causing the ozone layer todisintegrate.

    The ozone layer is becoming a part of this smog, which is causingholes in it. An inordinate amount of sulphur dioxide is let into the air, morethan can be neutralized by nutrients in the air. Decrease in pH levels,photochemical smog and depletion of the ozone layer are some effects of acidrain in the air. The ecosystem is slowly eroding due to the increased amounts ofacid in the soil. Acid in the soil in causing the carbon dioxide respirationprocess to decelerate.

    In order for plants to go through photosynthesis, theyneed carbon dioxide. When acid in the soil causing this soil respiration to slowdown, in turn it causes the photosynthesis process to slow down. The soil alsoerodes when the pH levels drop. The acidic levels of the soil cause nutrients inthe soils such as aluminum to break apart and the soil to erode.

    Soil erosionalso causes a lower production of plants in the ecosystem. In the soil a processof decay Acalled oligotrophication, means that fewer of the ions of acid areneutralized by the depleted biological community so the acid can cause furtherdegeneration of natural processes, which in turn are less capable of combatingthe acid, and so on, in an accelerating [emailprotected] (Howard & Perley, 1980, p. 32). Disruption in the life span of trees and plants is also another effect ofacid rain. The acid rain corrodes the thin, waxy layer, which coats and protectsthe leaves letting the acid suffocate the leaves. This can cause an interferencein the plants metabolism and photosynthesis may be altered meaning the leavescannot produce and efficient amount of food which may result in death of theplant.

    Acid may obtrude fertilization , stunt or kill the growth of seeds andmake them sterile. A second generation would be in danger of not being producedcausing deforestation. Naturally the reduction of plants is causing thebiological food chain to weaken. As smaller animals and insects feed on theseplants lose their food supply, they may also ensue death.

    In effect the animalswhich feed off of these animals also ensue a decrease in their supply. In turnhumans may become starved if the acid rain effects increase. Acid rain causesdeath of soil, plants and animals, effecting the ecosystem. Acid rain isbecoming a major problem in our environment today. It is killing our fresh waterlakes and it=s occupants. Also the quality of air is depleting, increasing theamount of smog and pollution in our atmosphere.

    Once the acid is absorbed in thesoil, this puts the ecosystem in jeopardy of extinction. This is killing plants,animal, and soil, which is the basis of our existence. If this acid rain problemis not dealt with urgently, the natural world may in hazard of demise.

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