Acid Rain Essay Research Paper ACID DEPOSITION

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Acid Rain Essay, Research Paper ACID DEPOSITION Picture a cancer, eating a human, a sister, a brother, away bit by bit. Destroying every organ, slowing every heart beat, weakening every muscle. Then finally, shutting the body down. Ending it?s existence. Acid deposition is the earth?s cancer. Every rain drop causing massive destruction throughout the world. Every downpour, killing another lake, stream, fish, tree, or human. Every smog, killing it?s inhabitants, weakening it?s life. Unlike many environmental problems, including CFCs (chlorofluro-carbons), which directly destroys the ozone, it?s effects touch more than just one thing directly. The precipitation, and the dry deposition kill or weaken anything and everything it touches. It can also effect everything indirect, as

the chemicals and acids stored in the rain are transferred through leaves and soil to roots and lakes from runoff. This is the silent killing it performs, with obvious effects, and so close to home. Believe it or not, but Canada receives a lot of the acidic deposition. The Canadian government has even dubbed the problem, the most pressing environmental issue facing the nation. The United States is mainly to blame for this domestic epidemic. The United States creates over 130 million tons of sulfur dioxide (50 to 70% of overall sulfur dioxide emissions in Canada come over the border from the United States) , which is transported through the air to Canada, where it kills our lakes, our rivers, our trees, and our wildlife. Even though emissions have been cut down in Canada by 30%,

the US still manages to produce millions of tones of harmful chemicals which end up polluting our nation, our home. Acidity, the pH scale, and measurements To understand what makes precipitation acidic, one must understand what an acid is and how it is measured. The acidity or alkalinity of a substance is measured on a potential hydrogen (pH) scale. This measures the amount of hydrogen ions in a substance. The more hydrogen ions, the lower the pH level. A reading below 7 indicates an acid, therefore one above 7 indicates a base. Clean, unpolluted precipitation is naturally acidic, with a pH of 5.6. When precipitation with pH levels lower than 5.6 fall, the number of hydrogen ions in the soils and plants increase, upsetting their natural balance, killing all life. Rain, in

Pitlochry, Scotland, has been tested with pH levels as low as 2.4, almost that of lemon juice. The pH levels of acid deposition have been strong enough to wipe out whole lakes of water species. What is Acid Deposition? Acid deposition, by definition, is “the transfer of acids from the earth?s atmosphere to its surface.” This is done two ways: acid precipitation and dry deposition. Acid Rain, the most popular form of acid precipitation, attracts most of the attention of the media, and most environmentalist groups, but it isn?t the only form of acid precipitation there is. The acids can be transferred through acid fogs, acid sleets, acid snows, acid hails, acid fogs, and through acid mists. It is the biggest culprit when it comes to the damage caused by acid deposition. The

other form of acid deposition, is very common, yet unknown to many environmentalists. Dry deposition, is the falling action of acidic particles (mainly sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, and nitrogen oxides) during dry periods. Examples of such would be smog. Both examples contribute equally to the destruction of the earth?s environments and inhabitants. Causes Acid deposition is the result of smoke emissions from fossil fueled power plants, oil refineries, (such as Inco, Algoma Steel, and Falconbridge). It is also the result of every single person, who drives or rides a vehicle to work everyday. An unfortunate fact being that 90% of the sulfur dioxide and 95% of the nitrogen oxide emissions occurring in eastern North America are of human origin. “The burning of fossil fuels, such