Acid rain can affect the environment in a number of ways. Discuss (20 marks)
Acid rain is mixed with certain chemicals, including Hydrocarbons. Nitrogen Oxides are created naturally from bacteria, volcanoes and lightening. From the burning of fossil fuels we get chemicals like Sulphur Dioxide, Sulphur Trioxide and Carbon Dioxide. When Carbon Dioxide is mixed with water we get Carbonic Acid. When Nitrogen Oxides are mixed correctly with water it can create Nitric Acid. When Sulphur Dioxide is mixed with water it creates Sulphurous Acid. And when Sulphur Trioxide is mixed with Sulphur Dioxide and water it can create the lethal Sulphuric Acid. Ozone Depletion also impacts on this as its releasing CFC’s which then add to the impact from acid rain.
Acid rain can corrode metal structures such as railway tracks and overhead power cables. It can also erode cement, marble and especially limestone buildings. It can take a longer time in some cases due to what the material is, but the evidence is shown a lot of most buildings.
Acidic water affects the growth and health of fish and other aquatic life, by reducing the pH of the water and impacting the health and breeding success of the fish and aquatic invertebrates. Death of aquatic organisms due to damaged exoskeleton development as the calcium compounds become more soluble. So there is less calcium in the food chain (for fish bones and birds egg shells). PH5 mucus on fish gills, pH4 species decline. It also dissolves metals out of sediments and rocks to increase the metals (lead) in the water. These can be taken up by the plants and contaminate the associated seeds or fruit. Phytotoxicity is a toxic effect by a compound on plant growth. Such damage may be caused by a wide variety of compounds, including trace metals, pesticides, salinity, phytotoxins or allelopathy as acids damage enzyme function cells in stomata, root hairs. Seed germination is inhibited by acidic conditions. Lichens...
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