Acid RainTHOUGHTS ON ACID RAINAcid rain is a serious problem with disastrous effects. Each day this seriousproblem increases, many people believe that this issue is too small to deal withright now this issue should be met head on and solved before it is too late.
Inthe following paragraphs I will be discussing the impact has on the wildlife andhow our atmosphere is being destroyed by acid rain.CAUSESAcid rain is a cancer eating into the face of Eastern Canada and the NorthEastern United States. In Canada, the main sulphuric acid sources are non-ferrous smelters and power generation. On both sides of the border, cars andtrucks are the main sources for nitric acid(about 40% of the total), while powergenerating plants and industrial commercial and residential fuel combustiontogether contribute most of the rest.
In the air, the sulphur dioxide andnitrogen oxides can be transformed into sulphuric acid and nitric acid, and aircurrent can send them thousands of kilometres from the source.When the acidsfall to the earth in any form it will have large impact on the growth or thepreservation of certain wildlife.NO DEFENSEAreas in Ontario mainly southern regions that are near the Great Lakes, suchsubstances as limestone or other known antacids can neutralize acids enteringthe body of water thereby protecting it. However, large areas of Ontario thatare near the Pre-Cambrian Shield, with quartzite or granite based geology andlittle top soil, there is not enough buffering capacity to neutralize even smallamounts of acid falling on the soil and the lakes.
Therefore over time, thebasic environment shifts from an alkaline to a acidic one. This is why manylakes in the Muskoka, Haliburton, Algonquin, Parry Sound and Manitoulindistricts could lose their fisheries if sulphur emissions are not reducedsubstantially.ACIDThe average mean of pH rainfall in Ontario’s Muskoka-Haliburton lake countryranges between 3.95 and 4.
38 about 40 times more acidic than normal rainfall,while storms in Pennsylvania have rainfall pH at 2.8 it almost has the samerating for vinegar. Already 140 Ontario lakes are completely dead or dying. Anadditional 48 000 are sensitive and vulnerable to acid rain due to thesurrounding concentrated acidic soils.ACID RAIN CONSISTS OF..
..?Canada does not have as many people, power plants or automobiles as the UnitedStates, and yet acid rain there has become so severe that Canadian governmentofficials called it the most pressing environmental issue facing the nation. Butit is important to bear in mind that acid rain is only one segment, of thewidespread pollution of the atmosphere facing the world. Each year the globalatmosphere is on the receiving end of 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide, 130million tons of suffer dioxide, 97 million tons of hydrocarbons, 53 million tonsof nitrogen oxides, more than three million tons of arsenic, cadmium, lead,mercury, nickel, zinc and other toxic metals, and a host of synthetic organiccompounds ranging from polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) to toxaphene and otherpesticides, a number of which may be capable of causing cancer, birth defects,or genetic imbalances.COST OF ACID RAINInteractions of pollutants can cause problems. In addition to contributing toacid rain, nitrogen oxides can react with hydrocarbons to produce ozone, a majorair pollutant responsible in the United States for annual losses of $2 billionto 4.
5 billion worth of wheat, corn, soy beans, and peanuts. A wide range ofinteractions can occur many unknown with toxic metals. In Canada, Ontario alonehas lost the fish in an estimated 4000 lakes and provincial authoritiescalculate that Ontario stands to lose the fish in 48 500 more lakes within thenext twenty years if acid rain continues at the present rate.Ontario is notalone, on Nova Scotia’s Eastern most shores, almost every river flowing to theAtlantic Ocean is poisoned with acid. Further threatening a $2 million a yearfishing industry.THE DYINGAcid rain is killing more than lakes. It can scar the leaves of hardwood forest,wither ferns and lichens, accelerate the death of coniferous needles, sterilizeseeds, and weaken the forests to a state that is vulnerable to diseaseinfestation and decay.
In the soil the acid neutralizes chemicals vital forgrowth, strips others from the soil and carries them to the lakes and literallyretards the respiration of the soil. The rate of forest growth in the WhiteMountains of New Hampshire has declined 18% between 1956 and 1965, time ofincreasingly intense acidic rainfall. Acid rain no longer falls exclusively onthe lakes, forest, and thin soils of the Northeast it now covers half thecontinent.EFFECTSThere is evidence that the rain is destroying the productivity of the once richsoils themselves, like an overdose of chemical fertilizer or a giganticdrenching of vinegar. The damage of such overdosing may not be repairable orreversible.
On some croplands, tomatoes grow to only half their full weight, andthe leaves of radishes wither. Naturally it rains on cities too, eating awaystone monuments and concrete structures, and corroding the pipes which channelthe water away to the lakes and the cycle is repeated. Paints and automobilepaints have its life reduce due to the pollution in the atmosphere speeding upthe corrosion process. In some communities the drinking water is laced withtoxic metals freed from metal pipes by the acidity. As if urban skies were notalready grey enough, typical visibility has declined from 10 to 4 miles, alongthe Eastern seaboard, as acid rain turns into smogs.
Also, now there areindicators that the components of acid rain are a health risk, linked to humanrespiratory disease.PREVENTIONHowever, the acidification of water supplies could result in increasedconcentrations of metals in plumbing such as lead, copper and zinc which couldresult in adverse health effects. After any period of non-use, water taps atsummer cottages or ski chalets they should run the taps for at least 60 secondsto flush any excess debris.
STATISTICSAlthough there is very little data, the evidence indicates that in the lasttwenty to thirty years the acidity of rain has increased in many parts of theUnited States. Presently, the United States annually discharges more than 26million 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 UnitedStates comes from coal-fired and oil fired plants. Industrial boilers, smelters,and refineries contribute 26%; commercial institutions and residences 5%; andtransportation 3%. The outlook for future emissions of suffer dioxide is not abright one. Between now and the year 2000, United States utilities are expectedto double the amount of coal they burn. The United States currently pumps some23 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 figuresparticularly distributing is that nitrogen oxide emissions have tripled in thelast thirty years.Acid rain is very real and a very threatening problem. Action by one governmentis not enough.
In order for things to be done we need to find a way to worktogether on this for at least a reduction in the contaminates contributing toacid rain. Although there are right steps in the right directions but thegovernment should be cracking down on factories not using the best filteringsystems when incinerating or if the factory is giving off any other dangerousfumes. I would like to express this question to you, the public: WOULD YOURATHER PAY A LITTLE NOW OR A LOT LATER?