• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The impact of Acid Rain on the Environment and Human Health

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The impact of Acid Rain on the Environment and Human Health What is acid rain? Acid rain is a broad term used to describe several ways that acids fall out of the atmosphere. A more precise term used is acid deposition that has two parts, wet and dry. Wet deposition: Refers to acidic rain, fog and snow, it affects a variety of animals and plants as it flows over and through the ground. The affects depend on many factors including how acidic the water is, the chemistry of the soils involved and type of living things that rely on the water i.e. fish, trees. Dry deposition: This refers to acidic gases and particles with over a half of the acidity in the atmosphere falling back to earth through dry deposition. These particles are blown by the wind into buildings, cars, homes and trees. They can also be washed from trees and other surfaces by rainstorms. When this occurs the runoff water adds those acids to the acidic rain making the land more acidic than falling rain alone. ...read more.

Middle

In addition acid rain accelerates the decay of building materials, paints, sculptures and statues. Effects of Acid Rain on Human Health The pollutants that cause acid rain (SO2 and NOx) can directly damage human health. These gases react with gases in the atmosphere to form sulphate and nitrate particles, which can travel to the lungs (by inhalation). They have been linked to respiratory problems such as dry coughs, headaches and eye/nose/throat irritations, as well as asthma, bronchitis and heart failure. If there were less nitrogen oxide particles in the atmosphere, they would be less able to react with the volatile organic compound that from ozone, and this decreases the risk of the 'Greenhouse Effect'. The ozone has also been linked with increased risk of lung inflammation (i.e. asthma and emphysema). These chemicals present in acid rain can harm humans indirectly too, as fruits and vegetables absorb toxic metals dissolved in the water (rain), and therefore appear in animal tissue later on. This may not affect the animals themselves but it does affect humans when the animals are consumed. ...read more.

Conclusion

The disturbance in balance of salt (especially Calcium ions) in the fish's tissue can cause poor reproduction (eggs are too brittle or weak). Calcium deficiencies also result in weak spines and deformities. Eutrophication (when nitrogen from fertilisers is washed into lakes, causing an excess of algae to grow) results in an increase in oxygen production, but due to the increased death of fish from the acid rain, decomposition uses up most of this oxygen. This leaves very little for the surviving fish to take in. Indirectly, sulphuric acid dissociates heavy metals (such as Aluminium ions) from the soil, so it accumulates in lakes and subsequently kills the fish. This has a knock-on effect on the creatures further down the food chain, as a fish deficit results in malnutrition of another animal. This is a chart showing the effects of pH on aquatics creatures; pH LEVEL EFFECTS <6 *Basic forms of food die off. Eg. Mayflies and stoneflies are important food sources for fish. They can't survive at this pH level. <5.5 *Fish cannot reproduce. *Young have difficulty staying alive. *More deformed adult fish due to lack of nutrients. *Fish die of suffocation. <5.0 *Fish population die off. <4.0 *Very different lifeforms, if any, from before. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Aqueous Chemistry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Aqueous Chemistry essays

  1. Acid Rain.

    THE NEW THEORY: A scientist in Norway had a problem believing that it was the acid rain on it's own that was affecting the lakes in such a deadly way. This scientist was Dr Rosenqvist. "Why is it that during heavy rain, the swollen rivers can be up to fifteen times more acid than the rain?

  2. The effect of Acid Rain on Seed Germination.

    This trial experiment helped me plan out my method for my final experiment as well because I then knew exactly which variables would have to be kept constant. I tested twenty seeds in a cold environment with 10cm� of water and plenty of oxygen and light.

  1. Acid Rain

    Urban smog is also produced by acid rain and is harmful to humans; it irritates the lungs and can cause breathing difficulty. Non-living things are also effected by acid rain. Statues and buildings start to decay and our countries memories and artifacts decay too.

  2. To investigate the effects of acid rain on statues

    when there is 30mls of acid, 0mls of water will be added; when there is 25mls of acid, 5mls of water will be added, and so on. The total amount will always be 30mls. Afterwards, I will pour the powder into a beaker that contain correct amount of acid in

  1. Acid Rain

    methane from sheep and cattle. Volcanoes and sea spray are typical natural sources of SO2. Lightning is the most common natural source of NOx. Contributions from natural sources are generally small compared to those from human activity. Effects of Acid Rain The main effect that acid rain has on humans Is increasing breathing problems sulphur

  2. Acidic Environment Assignment

    This was a phenomenon which swept and evolved our world. This period of change experienced exponential increases of output in the manufacturing industry of the pre-electricity age and along with it, exponential increases in the emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide.

  1. Acid rain in Europe

    What are the effects of acid rain? Their two main factors within the effects of acid rain That is the environmental effects and the human effects. Acid rain is a very damaging form of pollution, and the environment suffers from its effects.

  2. Acid Rain

    Wet deposition refers to acidic rain, fog, and snow. As this acidic water flows over and through the ground, it effects a variety of plants and animals. The strength of the effects depend on many factors, including the level of acid in the water, the chemistry and buffering capacity of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work