Acid rain is an air pollution problem that has several consequences. It can harm trees, cause eye irritation, and reduce biodiversity. If you’ve ever wondered what acid rain is, read on to learn about its causes and effects. It can cause problems worldwide, and your local community may be dealing with it.
Acid rain is a form of air pollution.
Acid rain is air pollution when water and air combine to produce an acid. This type of pollution dissolves soil minerals and robs ecosystems of essential nutrients. It also damages materials and building features. Because of these effects, the United States government implemented the federal Acid Rain Program in 1990. States like Massachusetts have created emission limits on power plants to limit acidification in their communities.
The primary cause of acid rain is the burning of fossil fuels. It is estimated that two-thirds of the sulfur in the air comes from electric power plants. This pollution combines with water and oxygen to form sulfuric and nitric acids. When these chemicals are high enough, they cause acid rain and cause respiratory and other diseases.
It damages trees
Acid rain damages trees because it depletes the soil of the nutrients trees need to grow. It also releases aluminium from the soil, which kills tree roots and makes them less efficient at extracting water. The combined stresses cause healthy trees to fail and ultimately die. To combat these effects, it’s important to address the issue of acid rain as soon as possible.
While acid rain does not directly damage trees, it does cause them to grow thinner and weaker than normal. This makes them more susceptible to diseases, insects, and cold weather. While acid rain is a major cause of tree and vegetation damage, other atmospheric pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide and ozone, are also harmful.
It causes eye irritation.
Acid rain is a major cause of eye irritation. It can affect cars and limestone buildings. It is also harmful to health and can lead to asthma. The level of acidity in the air is measured on a pH scale. Generally, a lower value means the substance is more acidic, while a higher number means it is more alkaline.
The acid content in acid rain is low, but it’s still strong enough to burn the skin and destroy certain metals. It has a pH of between 4.2 and 4.4. It’s weaker than vinegar, which has a pH of 2.2 and lemon juice has a pH of 2.3. But the acidity in acid rain is still toxic to the eye and can even impair vision.
It reduces biodiversity
Acid rain is an issue that threatens biodiversity around the world. It is caused by the oxidation of fossil fuels, which produce sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These gases are corrosive and can travel great distances, causing widespread damage. The pollutants in acid rain affect rivers and soils and significantly reduce biodiversity, especially that of birds and plants. They also contain mercury, which reduces the reproductive success of fish-eating birds and their chick survival rates.
The effect of acid rain has been felt by thousands of lakes across eastern Canada, including the Sudbury region. Since the 1970s, water chemistry monitoring and plankton studies have been initiated. These studies have resulted in recovery plans for some of the lakes in the Sudbury region. These recovery plans have been implemented in collaboration with industry and the Ontario and Canadian governments. Today, many of the affected lakes are making a recovery.
It affects aquatic life.
Acid rain results from atmospheric pollution, affecting aquatic life in many areas. It can damage freshwater plants, macroinvertebrates, and fish. The effects of acid rain can be particularly devastating to lakes, as aluminium leaches from soil and alters water chemistry. As a result, fish gills can become clogged, and fish reproductive success can decrease. Acid rain can also reduce the productivity of lakes and other bodies of water and damage the gills of birds and other aquatic animals.
Acid rain also affects plants and trees. Plants are prone to acid rain damage and are more vulnerable to various diseases. Ultimately, acid rain can damage aquatic life and upend the food web balance.
It can be neutralised by limestone.
Limestone can neutralise acid rain. The limestone dust particles act as cloud condensation nuclei, accreting a thin layer of water. The limestone reacts with sulfur dioxide to form calcium sulfate, a neutralizing agent. This chemical reaction is very effective in neutralising acid rain.
Limestone has several beneficial qualities, one of them being its neutralizing properties. It has high calcium content, which increases the stone’s neutralisation capacity. However, if it contains high magnesium carbonate concentrations, the neutralisation process is less efficient. The limestone should be at least 70% CaCO3 by weight.