Acid Rain and Its effect on the environment

Acid Rain and Its effect on the environment

Acid rain is any form of precipitation with a high concentration of sulfuric and nitric acids(Wondyfraw, 2).Acid precipitation or rain is therefore wet deposition process in which any type of precipitation removes the acids from the atmosphere in the form of fog, rain, snow, as well as tiny tads on dry material settling on the surface of the earth. Besides, the atmospheric acids can be found in the ground level with no wet deposition of any form in which they stick to man-made structures, ground formations, or plants (Wondyfraw, 2).

There  are various causes of acid rain.  Erupting volcanoes and rotting vegetation usually release certain chemicals that are associated with acid rain formation. However, human activities are the major cause of acid rain. The main cause of acid is the automobiles, factories, and coal burning power plants that use fossil fuels. When fossil fuels are burned, it produces nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere(Wondyfraw, 2). The chemical gases then may react with oxygen, water, as well as other materials to form a weak solution of nitric and sulfuric acid.  The often spreads the resultant acidic solutions across the atmosphere and more than hundreds of miles. Immediately the acid rain fall on the surface of the earth, it flows in the form of runoff water, enters water systems as well as sinks into the soil.

Acid rain is basically a broad term describing various modes that acids fall into the earth surface from the atmosphere. Acid deposition is a more precise and accurate term. Acid deposition has two parts: dry and wet. Wet deposition refers to acid snow, fog, and rain. As these, acidic waters flow though, and over the ground, it adversely affects a wide range of animals and plants. On the other hand, dry deposition refers to acidic particles and gases. Approximately about half of the atmosphere acidity falls back to the surface of the earth via dry deposition. The wind blows these acid gases and particles towards cars, trees, homes, buildings, and animals (Wondyfraw, 2).  Dry deposited particles and gases can be washed from trees as well as other surfaces by rainstorms. During sich incidents, the runoff water adds the acids to the acid water hence increasing the acidity of surface water more than the rainwater alone. The precipitation, which is less than seven, is acidic because of the emission of the acidic oxide in the atmosphere from vehicles and industries that use fossil fuel.

Acid rain has a key environmental effect. It affects almost everything including trees, soil, plants, building, and statues.  It affects aquatic life. Certain species can tolerate and be more resistant to acid water corrosion than some materials. But, especially in an interconnected ecosystem, what affects certain species will ultimately affect many more species in the entire food chain including terrestrial species such as a bird (Wondyfraw, 2).

Acid rain has been proven to affect trees negatively. It weakens the trees by washing away the protective coat on leaves as well as stunts the tree growth. The latest soil study collected before industry created acid rain reveal that trees around the world including trees in America are more likely to be stunted especially by polluted ground. The study compared the growth of trees across decades in Russia to alterations in soil conditions(Burns 2). The Russian provided the only existing preserved soil in the continent collected before acid rain reign; the Russian assisted the environmental bodies to track for the first time the growth with alterations in soil from acid rain. Based on the study findings, acid rain has serious complication for the spread and growth of forest in not only America but also other parts of the world especially those areas, which are highly industrialized(Burns 2).  Based on this study, in about five decades, acid rain had degraded severely the formerly fertile soil alongside St. Petersburg to the level that natty trees fail to maintain a healthy rate of growth anymore.  Such a sub-par growth is predicted to precede increase rates of mortality in the future (Wondyfraw, 3).

The new research found that in about 50 years, acid rain had severely degraded formerly fertile soil near St. Petersburg to the point that spruce trees could no longer maintain healthy growth rates. Such sub-par growth is known to precede high mortality rates shortly. The deteriorating tree health took place despite a wetter and a warmer climate within the region that should have improved tree growth. In other words, acid rain damages both natural and human-made forests particularly those at higher elevations. Acid rain robs of the essential soil nutrients as well as releases aluminum in the soil, which cause trees to struggle to absorb water. Acid rain can also burn leaves of a tree(Wondyfraw, 4). The detrimental impacts of acid rain alongside other environmental stressors, leave plants and trees unable to withstand insects, diseases, and temperatures. The acid road can also obstruct the tree capacity to reproduce. Certain soils can neutralize acids more effectively than other types of soil. In regions where the buffering capacity of a soil is low, the detrimental

Acid rain affects the pH and chemical balances of groundwater directly. The superfluous aluminum that acid rain creates makes aquatic environment including the streams, lakes, boreholes, and sea toxic(Burns 3). Certain animals with strong adaptation features can withstand the imbalance of the natural minerals of the water might survive but only in the short run since they will quickly lose their source of food due to the death of weaker creatures.  Animals lacking the adaptation future to withstand the chemical imbalances of the water fail to reproduce, become deformed, die or grow abnormally. Acid rain increases the growth of algae, which in turn increase the microbial thus the invertebrate herbivores die due to losing of habitation.

Acid rain leaches calcium out of the soil during the acid absorption by the earth. This ultimately creates a mineral imbalance in soil by reducing the calcium level thus adversely affecting the organism in the soil that heavily rely on calcium for growth and development.  Consequently, birds that eat such organisms lay eggs with weak and brittle shells and hence fail to hatch. Besides reduced calcium creates too much aluminum in the soil, preventing plants and trees form absorbing water. A weak plant lacks the ability to fight disease and insect or tolerate extreme weather conditions.

People considering a costly paint job on their automobiles might be forced to think twice in regions directly impacted by acid rain. The excess nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide in acid rain destroys as it evaporates from, dries, the surface. In other words, acid rain increases the rate of corrosion (Burns 3).  Animals and plants are not the only fatalities of acid rain. Humans have also affected adversely. The same nitrate and sulfate particle that has a direct effect on the soil, as well as water pH balance, can lead to severe damage to human respiratory system when inhaled deeply.  A destroyed respiratory system translates to an increase in illness and loss of productivity and even death of the individual.  Acid rain is associated with increased chronic conditions such as asthma, lung conditions, heart conditions, bronchitis, and other medical conditions especially when a person is regularly exposed to acid rain (Burns 3).

In conclusion, preventing acid rain is the most viable approach to stop its adverse effect on the environment. Acid rain majorly causes by pollution. Although some natural phenomena result in the release of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the air, the principal cause is human activities. Energy conservation can prevent acids by reducing the consumption of fossil fuel. Suing public transportation, walking or riding to destinations leaves the fewer vehicle on the road and reduced emission associated with acidic rain. Lastly, manufacturing companies can reduce the emission associated with acid rain using scrubbers to clean as well as remove the toxic chemicals from the pipe prior to being released into the atmosphere.

 

 

Work Cited

Burns, Douglas A. et al. “Acid Rain And Its Environmental Effects: Recent Scientific Advances.” Atmospheric Environment 146 (2016): 1-4. Web.

Wondyfraw, Mulugojam. “Mechanisms And Effects Of Acid Rain On Environment.” Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change 05.06 (2014): n. pag. Web.

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