Acid Rain Effects on Plants, Aquatic Animals, and Infrastructure

Topics: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen Pages: 2 (560 words) Published: February 19, 2009
acid rain
Acid rain is rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic. It has harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is mostly caused by human emissions of sulfur and nitrogen compounds which react in the atmosphere to produce acids. In recent years, many governments have introduced laws to reduce these emissions. Emissions from volcanoes and those from biological processes that occur on the land, in wetlands, and in the oceans account for the contribution of the pricipal natural phenomena of acid-producing. However, the principal cause of acid rain is sulfur and nitrogen compounds from human sources, such as electricity generation, factories, and motor vehicles. Coal power plants are one of the most polluting. The gases can be carried hundreds of kilometres in the atmosphere before they are converted to acids and deposited. In the past, factories had short funnels to let out smoke, but this caused many problems locally; thus, factories now have taller smoke funnels. However, dispersal from these taller stacks causes pollutants to be carried farther, causing widespread ecological damage. Acid rain has been shown to have adverse impacts on forests, freshwaters and soils, killing insect and aquatic life-forms as well as causing damage to buildings and having impacts on human health. Both the lower pH and higher aluminum concentrations in surface water that occur as a result of acid rain can cause damage to fish and other aquatic animals. Soil biology and chemistry can be seriously damaged by acid rain. Adverse effects may be indirectly related to acid rain, like the acid's effects on soil (see above) or high concentration of gaseous precursors to acid rain. High altitude forests are especially vulnerable as they are often surrounded by clouds and fog which are more acidic than rain. Other plants can also be damaged by acid rain but the effect on food crops is minimized by the application of lime and fertilizers...
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