Scientists have discovered that air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is the major cause of acid rain. Power plants and factories burn coal and oil, which is used to produce the electricity we need to heat and light our homes and to run our electric appliances. We also burn natural gas, coal, and oil to heat our homes, and our cars, trucks, boats, and airplanes use gasoline to run, which is another fossil fuel.
The smoke and fumes from burning fossil fuels rise into the atmosphere and combine with the moisture in the air to form acid rain. The main chemicals in air pollution that create acid rain are sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Acid rain usually forms high in the clouds where sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides react with water, oxygen, and oxidants. This forms a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Sunlight then increases the rate of these reactions. Rainwater, snow, fog, and other forms of precipitation containing those mild solutions of sulfuric and nitric acids fall to the earth as acid rain.
Acid rain is a much more complex problem then most people realize. Acid rain does not only drop dangerously high levels of acid into the ground directly affecting wildlife but it also mixes with other elements and compounds in the earth which then become harmful to the environment. For example aluminum is one of the most common metals on earth. It is stored in a combined form with other elements in the earth. When it is combined it cannot dissolve into the water and soil and harm the fish and plants. However the acid from acid rain can easily dissolve the bond between these elements. The Aluminum is then dissolved into a more soluble state by the... [continues]
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