Acid Rain Essay

287 WordsJun 4, 20142 Pages
Acid rain is a mixture of wet and dry deposition from the atmosphere containing high amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids. Acid rain is caused by the industrial burning of coal and other fossil fuels. The sulfur and nitrogen oxides from this then combine with atmospheric water to form acids. These gases mix in the atmosphere to form fine sulfate and nitrate particles that can be transported long distances by winds and inhaled into people's lungs causing many health problems. Scientific studies have identified a relationship between increased levels of fine particles and increased illness and premature death from heart and lung disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis. Aside from its effect on humans, acid rain also has a great effect on the environment. Acid rain has caused a decrease in the fish population in acid sensitive lakes and streams. Certain species of fish are not able to survive in acidic environments. Acid rain affects lakes and streams in two ways; through long-term acidification and short-term acidification. Long term acidification results from years of acidic rainfall, reducing alkalinity of water, and the level of nutrients such as calcium, which may weaken the fish and other organisms in an aquatic environment. Short-term acidification is characterized by a sudden jump in the acidity of water, resulting from a heavy rainstorm. This can lead to high concentrations of substances such as aluminum, which can be toxic to fish. Acid rain also affects forests by influencing vegetation and soil. Acid rain weakens the trees’ natural defenses, making them more susceptible to diseases. Acid rain may remove soil nutrients such as calcium and magnesium from soils in high elevation forests and cause damage to needles of Red

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