• 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. 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.

  2. Acid Rain

    The soil is robbed of some vital things. Aluminum that is always present in the soil is freed, and the roots of trees absorb the toxic element. The trees in turn are starved and deprived of vital nutrients such as calcium and magnesium.

  1. To investigate the effects of acid rain on statues

    Use clean apparatus. Wash up and tidy up after a practical lesson. Put solid waste into bins, not into sinks. In case of any accidents, a cut or splash of some chemicals, e.g. acid, wash with plenty of cold water and inform my teacher immediately.

  2. Acid Rain

    The damage the acid rain as on the structures depends mainly on the acidity of the rain, (the more acidic the greater the damage is caused). Acid rain wears rocks down gradually over long periods of time, this can be devastating, causing bridges to collapse or become so unstable they can not been used safely.

  1. Acid rain in Europe

    Harmful substances such as aluminium can be released into the soil. Another way trees can suffer from acid rain is stunted growth; and has damaged bark and leaves, which makes them vulnerable to weather, disease, and insects. This usually happens through trees having the rain deposited on them but can

  2. Formation and Effects of Acid Rain.

    I think the amount of SO2 (sulphur dioxide) and Nox (nitrogen oxide) has decreased because more people are using electricity above gas. The emissions of SO2 and Nox have increased for road transport, not because cars have not got cleaner but due to the fact that there are many more

  1. Acid Rain.

    were being found. It was at this time that scientist began to search for the reason. As the scientists continued to work they found many piles of dead fish, up to 5000 in one pile, further up the river. Divers were sent in to examine the bottom of the rivers.

  2. Acid Rain

    and chlorine (CI2). The following reactions show the acid formation due to these gases (Cherrington, Brett; 1996): Sulfur dioxide reacts with water to form sulfuric acid (SO42-). Oxides of nitrogen react with water to form nitric acid (NO3-). Carbon dioxide (CO2)

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