THOUGHTS ON ACID RAIN








Acid Rain
THOUGHTS ON ACID RAIN
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 sulfuric 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 sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can be transformed into sulfuric acid and nitric acid, and air current can send them thousands of kilometers 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 an acidic one. This is why many lakes in the Muskoka, Haliburton, Algonquin, Parry Sound and Manitoulin districts could lose their fisheries if sulfur emissions are not reduced substantially. 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 Pennsylvania 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, 97million 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 biphenyl’s (PCBs) totoxaphene 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 4.5billion worth of wheat, corn, soybeans, and peanuts. A wide range of interactions can occur in many unknowns with toxic metals. In Canada, Ontario alone has lost the fish in an estimated 4000lakes 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. THE DYING 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