Effect of Acid Rain

Topics: Oxygen, Acid, Sulfur Pages: 2 (669 words) Published: February 7, 2011
Acid rain, or more accurately acid precipitation, is the term used for describing rainfall with a pH level lower than 5.6. This type of pollution is a matter of great debate currently due to the potential of its causing environmental damages all across the world. For the last decade or so acid rain has caused destruction to hundreds of lakes and streams in many parts of the world, including the US, Canada, and Europe. Acid rain forms due to the oxides of sulfite and nitrogen combining with the moisture contained in the atmosphere, resulting in the formation of sulfuric and nitric acids. These acids can be dispersed far away from their places of origin. Acid rain seeps into the earth and poisons plants and trees by dissolving toxic substances in the soil, such as aluminum, which get absorbed by the roots. Acid rain also dissolves the beneficial minerals and nutrients in the soil, which are then washed away before the plants and trees have a chance of using them in order to grow. When there is frequent acid rain, it corrodes the waxy protective coating of the leaves. When this protective coating on the leaves is lost, it results in making the plant susceptible to disease. When the leaves are damaged, the plant loses its ability to produce sufficient amounts of nutrition for it to stay healthy. Once weakened, the plant becomes vulnerable to the cold weather, insects, and disease, which can lead to its death.

Apart from plants, acid rain also affects aquatic organisms adversely. A high amount of sulfuric acid interferes with the ability of fish to take in nutrients, salt, and oxygen. As far as freshwater fish is concerned, in order for them to stay alive they need to have the ability of maintaining a balance between the minerals and salts in their tissues. The molecules of acid result in mucus forming in their gills, which prevents them from absorbing oxygen in adequate amounts. Plus, the acidity, which reduces the pH level, causes the imbalance of salt in the...
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