Good Essay On Acid Precipitation/ Acid Rain
Acid rain is a fairly lax term because it represents not only rain but any forms of precipitation that contains the compounds of sulfur and nitrogen in larger than regular amounts. This can be snow, hail, and dew or fog basically all forms of precipitation with abnormally high amounts of acid forming chemicals. Acid Rain was first recognized in Sweden in 1872 and was not studied in the United States until the 1950s. Both Sulfur dioxide SO2 and nitrogen oxides NO2 are created from the use of fossil fuels and electricity. When the chemicals are combined and mixed with precipitation it causes acid rain. These chemicals are also found in the natural environment however manmade fuels and electricity cause an abundance of this mixture and when they are deposited back into the environment the results are disastrous. One of the natural causes of acid rain occurs during a thunderstorm because of the nitrogen oxide that is produced when lightning heats the surrounding air. The two other natural sources come from volcanic eruptions and when natural vegetation begins to rot. The cause that gets the very most attention however is manmade which occurs when people create these harmful chemical mixtures by using fuel in their vehicles and toxins produced by chemical industries. The other cause that is also manmade which produces 62 percent of the sulfur is the generation of electricity. Although many of the chemicals are developed in the eastern United States they are spread through the atmosphere making no place safe from producing acid rain (Program, 2015).
Is acid Rain point source or non-point source pollution
A pollutant is considered an introduction to the environment of something that contaminates it and changes the composition of our naturally needed resources. Anything can become polluted weather it is the air the water or the soil. Point source pollutants are any pollutants that are derived from one certain place. Some examples of point source pollution in the air are when factories make chemicals that are deposited back into the environment that are toxic. Point source pollutants in the water are when a factory or place is storing pollutants that leak directly into the natural water system. Examples of point source pollutants in the soil are like if a chemical used for a certain car is not disposed of properly and gets into the dirt contaminating it. Non point pollutants are defined as contaminants that are mixed with the environment over a large amount of area. In the air this happens when people drive their cars and toxins are released into the air from the use of chemicals like the gas used to run the vehicle. Acid rain is a non-point pollutant because it enters the water and soil when it is deposited back into the atmosphere. The chemicals that cause acid rain are point source pollutants and acid rain is a nonpoint source pollutant (University, 2015).
Harmful effects of acid rain/precipitation
Acid rain has many harmful effects on the environment making it in turn harmful to human civilization as well. When acid rain makes its way back into the environment it mixes with water making the water acidic. In turn this affects animals and plants that rely on this water. Some animals are capable of adapting to the chemical changes in the water however for many this is toxic. The animals that can adapt and survive in acidic waters are ultimately still affected because often it is there food source that is affected making the effects of acid rain toxic to every animal and plant in the ecological system. When the food chain is disrupted because of the alteration to the water eventually even non aquatic animals are impacted as the changes from acid rain create a hazardous domino effect on the entire society. When it comes to other effects acid rain causes devastation to forests when it deprives the soil of nutrients needed to keep trees healthy. Trees and plants already have to protect themselves from changing temperatures and insects and when there soil is tampered with it lowers there immunity and ability to fight off infections as well as survive (Society, 2015). Trees produce oxygen and animals are in our food chain so when these things are disrupted time shows that the impact to humans is also equally harmful.
What is being done?
The EPA is trying to eliminate acid rain with many different approaches. Some approaches just require cleaning things like smoke stacks and exhaust pipes. Alternative energy sources are another approach to eliminating acid rain. However all sources of energy come with risks and some are not yet affordable making it more difficult to impose them. Restoring the already damaged environment has been discovered as well since depositing natural limestone has proven to be able to reduce acidic waters (Protection Agency, 2015). The clean air act is responsible for all of these changes as the EPA uses science to impose regulations that will protect us from the effects of acid rain and reduce as well as reverse the impact of the damage that is already done. Scientists collect water air and soil samples and test them for the chemical compositions that would be responsively for producing acid rain. By determining what is causing acid rain and its effects on human health scientists at the EPA and universities are able to understand what changes are necessary to the sources that are causing the pollution so that they can change the impact on people’s health and the earth. As far as progress goes for the last forty years there has been drastic reduction in the pollutants that we breathe in as a result of the clean air act and the environmental damage has been reduced as well. These changes are solely responsible for reducing risks to public health and the environment (EPA, 2015) .When it comes to resolving harm from the pollutant the programs in place have lowered acidic content in the waters and even reduced the risk of skin cancers that human contract from holes in the ozone layer all by cleaning up our act through scientific advances and creating cleaner air for everyone.
EPA, A. (2015). Progress Cleaning the Air and Improving People's Health | Air Pollution and the Clean Air Act | US Environmental Protection Agency. Epa.gov. Retrieved 31 January 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/progress.html
Program, N. (2015). Acid Rain. Nadp.sws.uiuc.edu. Retrieved 31 January 2015, from http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/educ/acidrain.aspx
Protection Agency, E. (2015). Reducing Acid Rain | Acid Rain | Clean Air Markets | US EPA. Epa.gov. Retrieved 31 January 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/reducing/
Society, N. (2015). Acid Rain Facts, Acid Rain Information, Acid Rain Pictures, Acid Rain Effects - National Geographic. National Geographic. Retrieved 31 January 2015, from http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/acid-rain-overview/
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