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Acid rain can be thought of as any form of precipitation containing an unusually high amount of hydrogen ions, causing the pH levels of the liquid to drop to harmful levels. This resulting precipitation then causes massive harm to living organisms like plants and animals, as well as doing considerable damage to certain building types over long periods. Naturally, rain has an acidic pH due to its reaction with carbon dioxide in the air, forming the very weak Carbonate, which is not considered harmful.
Natural cases of low pH precipitation
Many phenomena in nature are responsible for the production of extremely low pH rains that can be devastating to life in the area. One such example of this is the eruption of volcanoes and fumaroles that emit sulfur compounds. These compounds react with moisture in the air to create liquids with a pH as low as 2 and are capable of clearing an area of vegetation in a short space of time. Another cause of naturally occurring low pH precipitation is lightning. When high voltage electricity passes through the air, it can ionize nitrogen molecules causing them to react with water molecules forming nitric acid, a major source of fixed nitrogen for agricultural crops.
Unnatural causes of low pH precipitation
Nature is not the only source of acid rain, in fact, man has done quite a good job at creating it as well and we have suffered many consequences as a result. Most cases of low pH precipitation stem from factories and machinery that burn fossil fuels, such as trucks and cars. The emissions of these machinery travel high into the atmosphere, reacting with moisture and return to earth as highly harmful acid rain, reeking widespread havoc on surrounding farms and wildlife. During the early stages of industrialization, very little was done to curb the effects of these emissions on the environment. Now, governments have enacted many laws and regulations which have since then helped to reduce the damage form acid rain and maybe one day, we could get rid of it entirely.
As human beings, it is our nature to affect the environment in ways that benefit us, however, it is equally important to remember that the environment is a complicated system and we should pay closer attention to our actions. In many cases, damage done can be reversed but today, we are witness to an occurrence that seems to already be beyond our control.
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Acid Rain Cause and Effect Essay Example
Acid rain refers to rain water that has a pH level below 5.6. It has been identified as one of the major causes of environmental pollution in the world today. There are different domestic and industrial factors that cause acid rain. This paper will discuss some of the causes and effects of acid rain.
The major cause of acid rain is contamination by toxic gases found in the atmosphere. These gases include Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, and oxides of metal such as zinc, copper and nickel. Most of these contaminant gases are released as a waste product of various industrial processes. Popular transportation means such as motor vehicles and trains are another leading source of contaminant gases that cause acid rain. Exhaust fumes from these vehicles contribute to forty three percent of pollutant gases in the atmosphere. Acid rain is also formed from natural sources such as erupting volcanoes, which release smoke containing toxic gases into the atmosphere.
Acid rain has numerous harmful effects to human beings and the environment. The first effect is that it alters the natural pH of soil, making difficult to carry out agricultural activities in these areas. Crops require a certain pH value for optimal growth, and any alteration in this value could result in poor harvests. Another negative effect of acid rain as the damage it causes to buildings, bridges and vehicles. The acidic nature of this rain water causes corrosion of vehicles and buildings exposed to it and could eventually lead to collapse of buildings and bridges. In addition to these effects, acid rain negatively affects the health of individuals. Breathing in particles from acid rain has been known to cause and aggravate asthma and other illnesses that affect the lungs.
In conclusion, the paper has shown that acid rain is extremely harmful to people and the environment. It has, however, been shown that most causes of acid rain are man-made and can be avoided. Every individual and industry must make an effort to decrease the emanation of toxic gases into the atmosphere, to decrease the occurrence of acid rain.
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