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Formation and Effects of Acid Rain.

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Formation and Effects of Acid Rain Acid rain is rain that has had an oxide of an element dissolved in it. The most common one is Sulphur dioxide (SO2), which has the highest proportion of 70% of all acid rain. Acid rain is produced when fossil fuels are burnt and they release chemical energy emissions such as Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide etc. These emissions stay in the atmosphere until they dissolve into the condensation of water (clouds). Prevailing winds take these clouds offshore (or a few miles away) and when it precipitates the rainwater that comes down is dilute sulphuric acid or dilute nitric acid. The PH Scale of substances. Substance PH Value Oven Spray cleaner 12.5 Alkali Ammonia Solution 11 Kitchen Surface Cleaner 10 More Alkali Sea water 8.2 Distilled Water 7 Neutral Milk 6.8 Washing up Liquid 5.5 'Normal' Rain Water 5 More Acidic Acid Rain 4.5 Apple 3.2 Vinegar 1.1 Lemons 2.5 Lowest recorded Acid Rain 2.4 Dilute Nitric Acid 1 Acidic In general acid rain is quite weak, as the graph shows, its weaker then the strength of apples. Although the acid is quite weak there would be enough to change the acidic value of the soil and then, in turn, have catastrophic effects on the plants and wildlife surrounding it. The strongest acid would be highly corrosive it would be the same effect as pouring nitric acid on it. Here is a flow chart to show the effects of acid rain: Fossil fuels burnt with Sulphur and other content When burnt the emissions given off rise into the atmosphere They then become gaseous and dissolve in the rainwater The rain is now acidic and harmful Rain gets into rivers, which are then polluted, fish die. Soil loses magnesium and calcium to aluminum Trees roots and leaves are corrodes and die Some evaporates back into the clouds. Acid rain affects buildings, soil, wildlife, vegetation and human's health. ...read more.


When sulphur is released into the atmosphere it doesn't dissolve into the precipitation straight away. It takes some time for it to dissolve, whilst this is happening the clouds that contain the sulphur are moving out of one country and into the next by this time the sulphur has dissolved and when it rains the water is acidic. This matter is very difficult so solve because the richer nations want to continue to stay wealthy by using cheaper, more reliable energy sources. Political leaders of countries want to stay in power but to do so they must remain in public favor. They cannot create an 'environmental' tax to pay to clean other countries because the people wouldn't want to pay. This means they will not vote for the politician that wants to bring this idea in action. This is why it is a complex situation; the countries on the receiving end do not want to pay to clear up another countries mess and the countries creating the mess can't generate the money to clear up their own mess. LEDC's would also generate a lot of sulphur because they do not have access and can't afford to use more re-usable/natural energy resources. These LEDC's need their energy as well but the result of this would affect other countries. LEDC's such as Kenya, Africa and Asia can't afford to clean up the mess they have given to other countries and the countries on the receiving end believe that it's not themselves who should clean it up, but the country that produced it. This is where debates happen on how they should be sorted. Areas that have a high concentration of emissions or depositions are Britain, USA, Scandinavia, Africa and Asia. If all these countries had a system that would clean out the emissions three would be a lot less and because these countries have them they would pass it on to other countries. ...read more.


If countries were to negotiate terms of what they should do all opinions will be biased towards their own country. They would be biased because they want a decision to be made that is in favor of their own country and so they have to pay the minimum amount they can get away with. My opinion on acid rain is that lots of filters should be attached to the outputs of waste gases. This would lower the amount of acidic emissions produced. Also on top of that the country that wants to clean up its environment should do it itself. They should raise money by hosting events and through some taxes, this way people would approve more because the money will be going to their own country. Also by cleaning up their own environment they can have something done about it in the not so distant future instead of waiting for politicians to make decisions which can take years. Also if more countries switched to renewable sources and dedicated a lot of money and land for this to take place it would reduce a lot of emissions. In the future humans at the global scale will have to convert to renewable energy sources, it is unavoidable. Soon (approx 300 years) the world's fossil fuels will run out and humans will relay solely upon these renewable energy sources to feed the ever increasing demand for energy. As time passes the technology of humans advances and soon a new renewable power source will be the main source of our energy. The renewable energy sources we have at the moment normally have a high initial cost of energy which takes a long time to break even with the amount of money that it needed to set up and the amount of money/electricity it has produced. In time the amount of sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere will fall, hopefully they will fall before too much of the earth has been damaged, such as the polar ice caps melting as a result of global warming. Thomas Bailey ...read more.

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