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Acid Rain.

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Introduction

WHAT CAUSES ACID RAIN When power stations, factories, houses and cars release pollution into the air it has chemicals in it called sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. SULPHUR DIOXIDE: Man-made sulphur dioxide comes mainly from burning fossils fuels in power stations. It then mixes with water in the atmosphere to make sulphuric acid, which will later fall as acid rain. NITROGEN OXIDES: Nitrogen oxides are also man-made and mainly come from car exhausts. These gases also go into the atmosphere and mix with water to form nitric acid, which once again falls as acid rain. WHAT EFFECTS DOES ACID RAIN HAVE ON THE ENVIRONMENT ? SOILS, TREES AND PLANTS. Trees and plants need healthy soil to grow in. Acid rain can damage these important soils by destroying many vital substances and washing away the nutrients. Soils naturally contain small amounts of poisonous minerals such as mercury and aluminium. Normally these minerals do not cause serious problems, but when acid rain falls on the ground and soil and the acidity of the soil increases, chemical reactions occur allowing the poisonous minerals to be taken up by the plant roots. ...read more.

Middle

As the lake becomes more acidic (the pH gets smaller) the fish find it more difficult to reproduce successfully, as the young fish find it difficult to live in the high levels of acidity and die. It is not only the acid in the water that kills them, but also poisonous minerals like aluminium that are washed out of the surrounding ground into the water. The birds that eat the fish also begin to suffer as the harmful minerals build up inside their bodies. All over the world there are lakes that have suffered from the effects of acid rain. Unfortunately, there is less wildlife in and around these lakes because a lot of it has died. BUILDINGS Soft building stones have always been naturally worn away by the effects of rain and wind, but in recent years the amount of damage has increased. This is because of acid rain. Famous buildings like the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Taj Mahal in India and St. Paul's Cathedral in London have all been damaged by this sort of air pollution. ...read more.

Conclusion

One way of fighting the effects of acid rain is by dropping lime into lakes and onto forests. This reduces acidity and is called 'liming'. Lime is an alkali made by crushing limestone rock. Liming has to be repeated every 2 to 5 years and it is expensive. Liming will not solve the problem of acid rain, to do that we must cut down on the amount of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that are produced. Power stations can be fitted with special equipment which reduces the amount of pollutants given off when fuel is burned. If we used electricity more carefully, we would not have to make so much, so there would be less pollution. Pollution from cars can be reduced by fitting the exhaust with a special filter called a catalytic converter. Reducing the amount of car journeys made and travelling by bus, train or bike instead can also help to stop air pollution. Acid rain is caused by burning coal, oil, petrol and gas. It would be better to change to types of energy that do not cause acid rain, like sun, wind and wave power. ...read more.

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