Acid Rain: Causes and Prevention

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The causes of acid rain are because of the emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere. This is a result of pollution; sulphur dioxide primarily the result of industrialisation and coal fired power stations, and nitrogen oxides produced mainly due to car exhaust fumes. These either form wet or dry deposition, and the effects we can see today.

It could be argued that once that the human race has used up all of the planets coal reserves, the problem of acid rain would disappear. However, this statement says that the problem ‘will only disappear’ when this would happen. There are a range of factors which would ensure the demise of acid rain, and this isn’t just purely the result of the loss of the primary source – that being the coal reserves. One of these factors is the political will involved with trying to reduce acid rain and its effects. Case studies to demonstrate this factor are Europe and China’s attitude towards the issue. Europe has only started to recognise the problems and attitudes towards solutions since 1979; bearing in mind acid rain has been in effect since industrialisation. The UK’s production of acid rain has had an international effect and has consequently caused severe damage in Norway and Sweden, for example the thousands of lakes which have become more acid. The change in attitude however, alongside the agreements and international cooperation has led to a reduction in acid rain in recent years. China on the other hand has the highest levels of pollution in the world, causing more acid rain, but has only started to recognise the importance of this problem in the past few years. The will involved in China currently isn’t strong enough to deal with the issue, for example local governments can choose not to enforce the solutions advised.

In relation to this are the technological developments of the modern day. The implementation of technology in Europe and the UK such as using scrubbers in the chimneys of the coal...
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