Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Acid Rain Problems and Solutions

Acid rain refers to precipitation, both wet and dry, that is acidic in nature. Precipitation like sleet, rain, snow or dry acidic components that have a pH of less than 4.0 is termed as acid rain. This phenomenon is the result of industrial and vehicular emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides reacting in the Earth's atmosphere.

Acid Rain Problems:

Acid rain is associated with atmospheric pollution. Today, a myriad of highly deleterious environmental effects of acid rain are being researched upon. The occurrence results in a precipitous pH value of around 4.0. Every subsequent decrease in the pH value is indicative of a greater acidic composition. Acid rain with pH readings well below 2.4 are being reported consistently from industrialized areas, initiating the need for the development of smokestacks. The acidification is largely triggered by the increased presence of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere. Emissions from the burning of fossil fuel, industry combustion, wildfires and volcanic eruptions add to the existent quantum of acid-producing gases in the atmosphere. The other causes of acid rain are emissions from electricity generating plants and motor vehicles.

The harmful gases traverse across hundreds of kilometers before converting into acids, causing widespread ecological damage. Acid rain has an adverse impact on our forests, soils, flora and fauna that thrive in various ecosystems, and human health. The phenomenon has eliminated certain life forms completely, while adversely affecting the quality of soil biology and chemistry. The forest cover too has been extensively damaged by acid rain, while the precipitation continues to threaten human health with the onslaught of premature death and specific particulate health effects. The phenomenon has not spared the inanimate either. It continues to threaten the survival of historical monuments and structures with the sulfuric acid induced flaking of limestone, marble, sandstone and granite.

Preventive Measures and Solutions:

The effects of acid rain on our ecosystem can be contained with awareness and education on the trigger factors of the phenomenon. Once these are addressed, the devastating effects can be curbed and remedied. Some of the prevention techniques to the problem include the use of Flue Gas Desulfurization or FGD in coal-burning power plants. This helps to filter the sulfur-containing gases and neutralize the same from the stack gases to obtain a pH-neutral that can be physically removed with the help of special 'scrubbers'. The pollutants can also be converted into industrial sulfates. Control of automobile nitrogen oxide emissions also helps to reduce the onslaught and address the problem with fervency.

The effects of acid rain on regional flora and fauna is maximum in Scandinavia and Canada. The rate of deposition of the acidic precipitation largely depends on the concentration of acid in the suspended air particles, nature of ecosystem in the region, wind velocity and exposure to humidity. Acid deposition has led to the destruction of sensitive flora and inhabitants of our freshwater biomes. Long-term acidic deposition on different soil types has resulted in drastic calcium, magnesium, and potassium depletion, affecting quality and quantity of food crops and dependent biological productivity. The researched 'critical load' or the measure of pollution that an ecosystem can tolerate has recently been converted to a study of the 'target load' or the amount of pollution ecologically acceptable. Research reveals that acidic rain is also a stress trigger generated from issues such as a depleting ozone layer, onslaught of complex diseases and adverse weather conditions.

Future Implications of Acid Rain

The nineteenth century was the witness to several social, economic, political and technological changes. The industrial revolution changed the world in true sense. Many great inventions can be attributed to this era. But along with several boons that this era has offered, it has also left a grave problem for the future generations to deal with critical environmental issues.

Acid rain was first reported by Scottish scientist Robert Angus Smith in 1852. However the term 'acid rain' came into existence in 1972. Acid rain is the manifestation of serious air pollution. The gases emitted from various sources mix with the rain to form an acidic precipitation, called acid rain. This acidic precipitation is capable of threatening the balance of entire ecological cycle. Acid rain affects all the living beings directly or indirectly. The future implications of acid rains can be severe, if proper measures are not taken on time.

Effect of Acid Rain
Acid rain can induce long-lasting effects on the life on earth. The various ecological components affected by acid rain are:

Human Beings
It is not the acid rain that directly affects the human beings, but the pollution that causes it. Air pollutions leads to several health problems like bronchitis, asthma or damage to lungs. The sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides may lead to irritation of eyes, ears and nose and poor visibility. These pollutants can also cause throat infections and dry coughs. In addition, several problems may arise due to consumption of intoxicated plants or animals.

Acid rain can deplete the nutrients in the soil, thereby depriving the plants of their food. Nutrients in soil dissolve in acid rain and get washed away before the plants can utilize them. The poor quality acidic soil is not only incapable of buffering but it also becomes intoxicated with harmful substances like mercury and aluminum, which are absorbed by the plants. Also, the acidic fog that covers the trees, deprives the leaves of sunlight and makes them weak. As a result, the leaves are unable to perform photosynthesis, rendering the trees weak and susceptible to various diseases and infections. Crops and other plantation are less likely to be affected by the acid rain, as the soil is enriched by the fertilizers. But applying excessive fertilizers is not beneficial for soil quality in the long run.

Aquatic Life
The acid rain interferes with the natural PH of water, which is between 6 to 8. When acid rain mixes with water in lakes and streams, the PH of water is reduced to 5. PH level below 5.0 is extremely detrimental to aquatic life. The young ones of most species are particularly sensitive to the acidic water. They find it even more difficult to survive in such water than adults. This endangers the entire species. Many species of fishes, frogs and other marine organisms have already become extinct while several others are on the verge of extinction.

Animals and Birds
Animals and birds are not directly affected by the acid rain, but as they are the part of food chain, they invariably have to face the effects. Consuming plants that are intoxicated by the acid rain can produce certain problems in animals and birds. Reduction in forest also deprives them of their habitat. This may result in substantial decrease in their population.

Other Effects of Acid Rain
Other effects of acid rain include damage to several monuments and places of historic importance. The major pollutants of acid rain, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide erode the marble and limestone which form the major part of construction materials for most buildings. Fading and peeling of color of buildings is the common effect of acid rain. Many great structures in the world like Taj Mahal in India, Washington Monument, Renaissance buildings in Italy, Acropolis in Greece have all been affected by the acid rain.

Though the havoc played by acid rain cannot be reversed, certain actions can be taken to avoid further damage. General awareness among common people and pressure from various environmental groups have forced the Governments to take measures against the acid rain. Lakes and streams can regain their PH balance by the process of liming. Liming means dissolving large quantities of alkaline substances like quicklime into the water bodies. In addition, measures like reducing power consumption, cutting down on fuel and afforestation can also bring down the pollution level to a great extent.

Acid rain's effect on plants and wildlife

Acid rain is a term used to describe a condition where nitric and sulfuric acids are brought to earth, generally through some form of precipitation. Once these chemicals reach earth, they can have an effect on plant life. While sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides have always been naturally added to the atmosphere from volcanic eruptions, or produced as a by-product of decaying plant matter, they are also produced by burning fossil fuels. When these gases are released into the atmosphere, they are either returned to earth through precipitation, or in dry areas, deposited on the ground and later transported through run off.

Acid rain, produced naturally, has had an effect on plant life, and even structures made from certain materials for centuries, however, there is an indication that man made pollution may be accelerating the condition.

Over the past several decades, scientists have become more and more aware of the effects of acid rain and how it impacts the life and health of plant life on earth. In many areas and under certain conditions, it will cause nutrient depletion, resulting in stunted plant growth and weaker specimens. Combined with other adverse conditions, it can result in the death of large areas of vegetation.

The chemicals in acid rain, once they reach earth and are incorporated into the soil, absorb the naturally occurring vital nutrients needed for plant health and growth. However, how much this will effect any given area depends a great deal on the soil composition. Soils that are thin, deplete more easily than more buffered soils, allowing acid rain to have more impact. Altitude is also a factor. Forests in higher altitudes suffer not only from acid rain and thinner soil, but from the fact that they reside in areas where they may be surrounded by acidic fog and clouds.

Even if the plant or tree is not destroyed outright by a depletion in nutrients, it does weaken the plant, leaving them susceptible to disease and periods of extreme weather. In this condition, a drought, extremely stressful winter, or disease may be fatal. Food crops such as corn, wheat, vegetables and fruits are generally not as affected, since the process of farming itself, which always includes fertilizers that replenish the soil, counteracts the depleting effect of the acid rain.

While natural causes of acid rain cannot be controlled, it is hoped that in the future, improvements and restrictions on exhaust emissions and industrial pollution will help control and limit this problem.

Acid rain's effect on plants and wildlife

Most people have heard of acid rain. Acid rain contains a PH which is less than 4 and is produced by rain water which falls through volcanic emissions. Acid rain also describes a type of precipitation which contains high levels of sulphuric and nitric acids. Acid rain leaves in its wake, a host of ecological effects. Yet the most prominent and detrimental is the damage it does to streams, lakes, rivers and varied aquatic environments. Acid rain does serious damage to plants and wildlife. Acid rain makes what is called ‘acidic water’ which absorbs aluminium. The acidic waters then find its way from soil to waterways, forests and so forth, damaging all in its path.

Acid rain falls as mentioned above, and when it does it lands on crops, buildings, roads, houses and wildlife. It falls directly on bodies of water which wildlife drink or feed from. Sensitive bodies of water are affected by acid rain, and wildlife which live in or are dependent on these bodies of water, are affected. Acid rain kills sea life, reducing the fish, waterfowl and other aquatic life. It can completely eliminate fish species and decrease biodiversity. Acid rain pollution is a problem which affects all it comes in contact with. The affects of acid rain are mainly caused related to the combination of sulphur and oxide which mixes with moisture from the sky.

Acid rain is deemed one of the most serious environmental problems the world can ever face. But acid rain also gets its name from acid deposits which are the result of sulphurs and oxides which mix with rain, sleet and snow. These find their way to the ground and waterways. Unfortunately acid rain will only ever be controlled when the world’s inhabitants agree to enforce the protection of the environment as much as is humanly possible. Sadly acid rain makes rainforests almost obsolete, wildlife in danger of extinction, lakes and rivers lose their fish population and waters contaminated. Acid rain is basically air pollution.

Acid rain dissolves the nutrients from plants. Consequently plants then fail to grow healthy. Minerals in the soil are diminished and the trees and plants then fail to grow. In a nutshell, acid rain affects every living thing on the planet. Acid rain dissolves the wax coating on leaves. Acid rain alters the natural chemistry of the environment. It interferes with the ability for fish and other aquatic life to take in salt, oxygen and other much needed nutrients for survival. When acidic rain is present in water, it causes mucus to form in the gills of fish and sea mammals. They cannot absorb oxygen from the water and die. Acid rain is a horribly destructive form of pollution.

Acid rain's effect on plants and wildlife

Acid rain is one kind of environmental pollution. The sources of acid rain can be man made like emissions from automobile and electric power and other industries using coal. Acid rain can occur also due to the eruption of volcanic ashes in the volcanic mountains. Sulfur is being released in the atmosphere which pollutes the environment. During rainy season, it comes down as the rain.Nitrogen oxide air emissions and other activities where fossil fuels are being burned are also the source for acid rain.

It's time to explore the impact of acid rain on plant and wild life. The lakes and forests surrounding the industrial area feel the impact of acid rain. When the lakes are polluted, marine lives in the lakes are affected . Acid rain affects ocean and sea.

Acid rain's effect on plants is an ongoing problem. Natural vegetation flourishes with the best soil . When the quality of soil is affected by the increased acidity,the plants die naturally. The roots of the plants are weakened or destroyed . Soil nutrients and useful microbes are robbed by the acid in the rain. The plants have less nutrients for healthy growth. The plants become vulnerable to diseases.

The effect of acid rain on wild life cannot be ignored. Wild life depends on lakes and forests , ocean and sea for millenniums. Many animals depend on water in the lakes . When the lakes are polluted due to acid rain, their quality of lives will be altered forever. When the acidity level increases beyond normal level it affects the insects, fishes and the aquatic plants. When the aquatic plants die, the fishes which depend on these food source perish. Some fishes have lot of mercury deposit in their diet.

Migratory bird and wild animals depend on the water in the lakes, sea and ocean during their migratory voyages. Increased acidity affects the water quality.The poor water quality affects the species of migratory birds and animal. Nature's ability to clear the acid in the rain is possible only up to the normal acidity level. Some species of migratory birds, wildlife who have their sanctuaries in the lakes, sea and ocean may vanish due the increased pollution and acidity in water.

The quality of human lives are also affected by acid rain. Different species of life are linked in many ways. The world without wildlife and plants would be a boring , universe. By dealing with the acid rain pollution, we protect wild life, plants and us . It's a small world after all.

Is Acid Rain Really Something To Worry About?

More and more people are becoming concerned about acid rain and its effect on people and our environment. There are many factors to consider when deciding if acid rain is an issue for you.

What Is Acid Rain?

Precipitation that has high levels of sulfuric acid and nitric acid is considered to be acid rain. It could be rain, snow, sleet, hail or even fog and mist. The acids can occur naturally or by way of mankind. Volcanoes and decomposing plant life emit acids that go into the atmosphere. Emissions from burning fossil fuels also release acids into the environment.

Once released, the acids are carried through the air. They can reach the ground either through wet precipitation or just by the particles landing on the soil. Eventually, the soil absorbs the nitric acid and sulfuric acid. It can also land in the water hence contaminating it.

Is It Really Harmful?
There isn’t really a whole lot known about the effects of acid rain. We do know that it definitely contaminates our waterways therefore, threatens marine life. This directly affects fishermen who make a living from the water and impacts our ability to consume healthy seafood.
Acid rain also harms trees and plants. The acid coats the trees leaves and can burn them causing irreversible damage. Plants are robbed of proper soil because of the acidity level. This is rarely a problem for the average person’s victory garden as most gardeners fertilize their soil prior to planting their vegetables. Most cultivated plants are hardy enough to withstand acid rain.

Getting caught in acid rain won’t harm you at all. Many people believe that it can burn their skin but it really can’t do that. In fact, you could fill a swimming pool with water from acid rain and swim in it all summer without any trouble. It is only the dry particles that can harm you. They enter your lungs and can cause respiratory illnesses and exacerbate existing asthma problems.

Buildings, structures and objects made out of marble, granite or copper can be compromised by acid rain. Acid rain corrodes them and can cause them to erode faster than originally predicted. This cannot only cause us to lose some of our most beloved landmarks but cost us millions of dollars in reconstruction expenses.

The relationship between sulphuric acid and acid rain;

Acid rain takes place as a direct result of the natural cleaning process of the atmosphere. The tiny droplets of water which form clouds confine within them the suspended solid particles and gases in the atmosphere. Among these gases are sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides which are them chemically converted into sulfuric and nitric acids. Other than this some sulfuric acid may of the effects caused by acid rain and the sulfuric acid present in it are:

• The acid may react with buildings and marble made structure by reacting with the Calcium carbonate and this reaction forms Calcium bicarbonate which is soluble and hence causes the structures, buildings etc to deteriorate.

• Acid rain can filter aluminum from the soil and make it get mixed with ground water, lakes or rivers. This can poison fish and many plant roots.

•Acid rain disrupts the process of photosynthesis, hence causing damage to plant life

•If the acid rain is highly concentrated, it slows down the production of chlorophyll and at high concentration it may kill plants.

The effect of acid rain;
Effects on Soils

Trees derive their nutrition primarily from element ions such as calcium, Ca, magnesium, Mg, and potassium, K that have dissolved from rocks into the soil.

Acid deposition adds hydrogen ions, which displace these important nutrients in a process called leaching. Leaching means that the ions are washed deeper into the subsoil or washed out of the top soil. If ions are leached from the soil, they are no longer available to the roots of the plants.

Calcium ion is used in the cells of a tree for cell formation and in the processes that transport sugars, water, and other nutrients from the roots to the leaves.

Magnesium ion is a vital element in photosynthesis and as a carrier of phosphorus which is important in the production of DNA. These ions may be unavailable to the tree roots because they have been leached away.

The effect on aquatic organism

Acid rain causes a cascade of effects that harm or kill individual fish, reduce fish population numbers, completely eliminate fish species from a waterbody, and decrease biodiversity. As acid rain flows through soils in a watershed, aluminum is released from soils into the lakes and streams located in that watershed. So, as pH in a lake or stream decreases, aluminum levels increase. Both low pH and increased aluminum levels are directly toxic to fish. In addition, low pH and increased aluminum levels cause chronic stress that may not kill individual fish, but leads to lower body weight and smaller size and makes fish less able to compete for food and habitat.

Some types of plants and animals are able to tolerate acidic waters. Others, however, are acid-sensitive and will be lost as the pH declines. Generally, the young of most species are more sensitive to environmental conditions than adults. At pH 5, most fish eggs cannot hatch. At lower pH levels, some adult fish die. Some acid lakes have no fish. The chart below shows that not all fish, shellfish, or the insects that they eat can tolerate the same amount of acid; for example, frogs can tolerate water that is more acidic (i.e., has a lower pH) than trout.

Effect on ecosystem

Together, biological organisms and the environment in which they live are called an ecosystem. The plants and animals living within an ecosystem are highly interdependent. For example, frogs may tolerate relatively high levels of acidity, but if they eat insects like the mayfly, they may be affected because part of their food supply may disappear. Because of the connections between the many fish, plants, and other organisms living in an aquatic ecosystem, changes in pH or aluminum levels affect biodiversity as well. Thus, as lakes and streams become more acidic, the numbers and types of fish and other aquatic plants and animals that live in these waters decrease.

The relationship between acid rain and corrosion;

Corrosion causes a lot of problems in maintenance. Machines get worn out, structures become weakened, appearance gets tarnished and metals like iron do not last as long as we wanted them to.

Yet not every wearing of machines can be attributed to corrosion. Erosion, abrasion and scuffing can also wear down machines. However the major reason for machine wear down is still corrosion. Why is that so?

We live in a world of chemicals and corrosion is a chemical reaction. In the process, metal is dissolved. Since iron and steel is used in almost every machine and structure, we particularly want to avoid corrosion in them.

Corrosion of iron and steel occurs only when 3 conditions occur:

1. A potential difference exists.
2. The surfaces are covered by an electrolyte.
3. Oxygen is present.

The relationship

When petroleum burns, it produces oxides of nitrogen and that rise up into the atmosphere. There they get mixed by wind and undergo chemical reactions with sunlight and moister. After some days, the sulphuric acid and nitric acid particles falls as acid rain. So not only sulphuric acid is involved but nitric acid also plays important role. Due to acidic features acid rain eats into the stone surface at once. These particles settle into crevices and molding and the damage they create comes later. When the rains comes in contact with the deposits corrosion there.

What is Acid Rain and What Causes It?

"Acid rain" is a broad term used to describe several ways that acids fall out of the atmosphere. A more precise term is acid deposition, which has two parts: wet and dry.

Wet deposition refers to acidic rain, fog, and snow. As this acidic water flows over and through the ground, it affects a variety of plants and animals. The strength of the effects depend on many factors, including how acidic the water is, the chemistry and buffering capacity of the soils involved, and the types of fish, trees, and other living things that rely on the water.

Dry deposition refers to acidic gases and particles. About half of the acidity in the atmosphere falls back to earth through dry deposition. The wind blows these acidic particles and gases onto buildings, cars, homes, and trees. Dry deposited gases and particles can also be washed from trees and other surfaces by rainstorms. When that happens, the runoff water adds those acids to the acid rain, making the combination more acidic than the falling rain alone.

Prevailing winds blow the compounds that cause both wet and dry acid deposition across state and national borders, and sometimes over hundreds of miles. Scientists discovered, and have confirmed, that sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are the primary causes of acid rain. In the US, About 2/3 of all SO2 and 1/4 of all NOx comes from electric power generation that relies on burning fossil fuels like coal.

Acid rain occurs when these gases react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds. Sunlight increases the rate of most of these reactions. The result is a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid.

How Do We Measure Acid Rain?

Acid rain is measured using a scale called "pH." The lower a substance's pH, the more acidic it is. Pure water has a pH of 7.0. Normal rain is slightly acidic because carbon dioxide dissolves into it, so it has a pH of about 5.5. As of the year 2000, the most acidic rain falling in the US has a pH of about 4.3.

Acid rain's pH, and the chemicals that cause acid rain, are monitored by two networks, both supported by EPA. The National Atmospheric Deposition Program measures wet deposition, and its Web site features maps of rainfall pH (follow the link to the isopleth maps) and other important precipitation chemistry measurements.

The Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) measures dry deposition. Its web site features information about the data it collects, the measuring sites, and the kinds of equipment it uses.

Effects of Acid Rain

Acid rain causes acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to damage of trees at high elevations (for example, red spruce trees above 2,000 feet) and many sensitive forest soils. In addition, acid rain accelerates the decay of building materials and paints, including irreplaceable buildings, statues, and sculptures that are part of our nation's cultural heritage. Prior to falling to the earth, SO2 and NOx gases and their particulate matter derivatives, sulfates and nitrates, contribute to visibility degradation and harm public health.

What Society Can Do About Acid Deposition

There are several ways to reduce acid deposition, more properly called acid deposition, ranging from societal changes to individual action.

Understand acid deposition's causes and effects

To understand acid deposition's causes and effects and track changes in the environment, scientists from EPA, state governments, and academic study acidification processes. They collect air and water samples and measure them for various characteristics like pH and chemical composition, and they research the effects of acid deposition on human-made materials such as marble and bronze. Finally, scientists work to understand the effects of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) - the pollutants that cause acid deposition and fine particles - on human health.

To solve the acid rain problem, people need to understand how acid rain causes damage to the environment. They also need to understand what changes could be made to the air pollution sources that cause the problem. The answers to these questions help leaders make better decisions about how to control air pollution and therefore how to reduce - or even eliminate - acid rain. Since there are many solutions to the acid rain problem, leaders have a choice of which options or combination of options are best. The next section describes some of the steps that can be taken to reduce, or even eliminate, the acid deposition problem.

Clean up smokestacks and exhaust pipes

Almost all of the electricity that powers modern life comes from burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil. acid deposition is caused by two pollutants that are released into the atmosphere, or emitted, when these fuels are burned: sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Coal accounts for most US sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions and a large portion of NOx emissions. Sulfur is present in coal as an impurity, and it reacts with air when the coal is burned to form SO2. In contrast, NOx is formed when any fossil fuel is burned.

There are several options for reducing SO2 emissions, including using coal containing less sulfur, washing the coal, and using devices called scrubbers to chemically remove the SO2 from the gases leaving the smokestack. Power plants can also switch fuels; for example burning natural gas creates much less SO2 than burning coal. Certain approaches will also have additional benefits of reducing other pollutants such as mercury and carbon dioxide. Understanding these "co-benefits" has become important in seeking cost-effective air pollution reduction strategies. Finally, power plants can use technologies that don't burn fossil fuels. Each of these options has its own costs and benefits, however; there is no single universal solution.

Similar to scrubbers on power plants, catalytic converters reduce NOx emissions from cars. These devices have been required for over twenty years in the US, and it is important to keep them working properly and tailpipe restrictions have been tightened recently. EPA has also made, and continues to make, changes to gasoline that allows it to burn cleaner.

Use alternative energy sources

There are other sources of electricity besides fossil fuels. They include: nuclear power, hydropower, wind energy, geothermal energy, and solar energy. Of these, nuclear and hydropower are used most widely; wind, solar, and geothermal energy have not yet been harnessed on a large scale in this country.

There are also alternative energies available to power automobiles, including natural gas powered vehicles, battery-powered cars, fuel cells, and combinations of alternative and gasoline powered vehicles.

All sources of energy have environmental costs as well as benefits. Some types of energy are more expensive to produce than others, which means that not all Americans can afford all types of energy. Nuclear power, hydropower, and coal are the cheapest forms today, but changes in technologies and environmental regulations may shift that in the future. All of these factors must be weighed when deciding which energy source to use today and which to invest in for tomorrow.

Restore a damaged environment

Acid deposition penetrates deeply into the fabric of an ecosystem, changing the chemistry of the soil as well as the chemistry of the streams and narrowing, sometimes to nothing, the space where certain plants and animals can survive. Because there are so many changes, it takes many years for ecosystems to recover from acid deposition, even after emissions are reduced and the rain becomes normal again. For example, while the visibility might improve within days, and small or episodic chemical changes in streams improve within months, chronically acidified lakes, streams, forests, and soils can take years to decades or even centuries (in the case of soils) to heal.

However, there are some things that people do to bring back lakes and streams more quickly. Limestone or lime (a naturally-occurring basic compound) can be added to acidic lakes to "cancel out" the acidity. This process, called liming, has been used extensively in Norway and Sweden but is not used very often in the United States. Liming tends to be expensive, has to be done repeatedly to keep the water from returning to its acidic condition, and is considered a short-term remedy in only specific areas rather than an effort to reduce or prevent pollution. Furthermore, it does not solve the broader problems of changes in soil chemistry and forest health in the watershed, and does nothing to address visibility reductions, materials damage, and risk to human health. However, liming does often permit fish to remain in a lake, so it allows the native population to survive in place until emissions reductions reduce the amount of acid deposition in the area.

Look to the future

As emissions from the largest known sources of acid deposition - power plants and automobiles-are reduced, EPA scientists and their colleagues must assess the reductions to make sure they are achieving the results Congress anticipated. If these assessments show that acid deposition is still harming the environment, Congress may begin to consider additional ways to reduce emissions that cause acid deposition. They may consider additional emissions reductions from sources that have already been controlled, or methods to reduce emissions from other sources. They may also invest in energy efficiency and alternative energy. The cutting edge of protecting the environment from acid deposition will continue to develop and implement cost-effective mechanisms to cut emissions and reduce their impact on the environment.

Take action as individuals

It may seem like there is not much that one individual can do to stop acid deposition. However, like many environmental problems, acid deposition is caused by the cumulative actions of millions of individual people. Therefore, each individual can also reduce their contribution to the problem and become part of the solution. One of the first steps is to understand the problem and its solutions.

Individuals can contribute directly by conserving energy, since energy production causes the largest portion of the acid deposition problem. For example, you can:

  • Turn off lights, computers, and other appliances when you're not using them
  • Use energy efficient appliances: lighting, air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.
  • Only use electric appliances when you need them.
    Keep your thermostat at 68 F in the winter and 72 F in the summer. You can turn it even lower in the winter and higher in the summer when you are away from home.
  • Insulate your home as best you can.
  • Carpool, use public transportation, or better yet, walk or bicycle whenever possible
  • Buy vehicles with low NOx emissions, and maintain all vehicles well.
  • Be well-informed.

Coal - A Viable Energy Solution

Although coal is not used nowadays to heat up homes and factories, its use is wholly similar to what it has been over the generations - as fuel. Only this time, coal is used for the generation of electricity, which is then transmitted over power lines to heat up homes and factories, and in ways too several to count. Even in this nuclear age, coal accounts for 49% of all the electricity generated in the United States, and for 40% of worldwide production.

The expenditure of coal to produce electricity is a simply recent development in the history of use of coal. From the prehistoric times when early humans found that certain black rocks could burn, to the Hopi Indians during the 1300s using coal for cooking, heating and pottery, to the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s fuelled by coal and steam engines, coal has been an integral part of human development over millennia.

In spite of the emergence of new technologies, coal as an energy solution is definitely an attractive proposition for the future, provided certain measures are taken to clean up the processes. We present here some of the pros and cons of coal as an energy solution:


1. Availability - The biggest benefit coal has as an energy solution is its existence. In 2006, the United States Energy Information Administration published figures of 930 billion short tons of recoverable coal reserves in the world. Of these, the United States has the maximum share of 27%.

At present levels of extraction and consumption, these should last more than 130 years. Even considering increasing rates of consumption of around 2-3% annually, the reserves should last more than half a century. Moreover, it is easier to determine their locations and extract the mineral using existing technologies than with other energy sources.

2. Price - Coal is one of the cheapest energy sources accessible. In addition to its abundance, the method for generating electricity from coal is cheaper than alternatives like nuclear and hydroelectric power. Although these alternatives may be less costly in the long run, they require huge initial investments.

3. Safety - As compared to nuclear power, thermal power or electricity generated from coal is considered much safer. Accidents at thermal plants won't cause as expansive incident as the Chernobyl disaster.


1. Acid rain - Coal has a lot of impurities like sulphur and nitrogen compounds which are released into the atmosphere on burning. In combination with water vapor, they cause acid rain that is harmful to plants and animals.

2. Global warming - Coal is a form of carbon, which on burning produces carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is a potent gas that, when present in the atmosphere, traps terrestrial radiation and heats up the earth in a circumstance known as global warming. This has long-term effects on weather and biodiversity.

Various steps are being taken to address these two issues. Today, with current technology, it is possible to filter out 99% of the tiny particles and remove more than 95% of the acid rain pollutants in coal. Clean coal technologies are here to stay.

Acidic Drinking Water & Its Health Risks

The ill effects of acidity in drinking water has recently come to light as studies have progressed documenting the changing lifestyles of Americans. pH is the measurement of acid versus alkaline within a substance. A measurement of seven on the pH scale is generally said to be neutral (pure), while anything below is considered acidic and above alkaline. The pH in the body has been linked to long term concerns as it relates to many diseases. Most forms of diseases flourish in an acidic environment which is why drinking high acidic water in combination with our lifestyle changes and diet are a path for future health problems. The body manages this process of being more alkaline automatically. If the alkalinity level drops than the body will seek to draw alkaline from calcium deposits in our teeth and bones.

In our early years we get away with eating an imbalanced diet because our bodies produce a much higher rate of alkaline. This is why the body in earlier years stays skinnier even if we eat poorly. In our thirties and forties our bodies begin to change and the years of drinking acidic soda and ingesting other dietary NO-NOs, along with stress, environmental toxins and acidic chemicals in our daily hygiene products, all contribute to a higher acid level. Our bodies become less able to neutralize the acid. Chronic acidosis is a new term that has been established by the medical community to describe this event. Another new phenomenon is acid reflux directly linked to our lifestyle change and the amount of acid in our bodies. Twenty years ago did you ever even hear about this disease? Ever heard of acid rain and its damaging affects? This is the same thing that is currently happening in our bodies and it is time to take control!

According to the research of Dr. Enderlein our bodies can only be healed of any chronic illness when our blood is at normal, or slightly alkaline. An imbalanced pH affects the cellular activity in the body, leading to the progression of most degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease and heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, kidney stones, urinary incontinence, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, systemic weight gain and obesity.

Minerals in water are an easy way to improve this balance within our bodies. The water that we choose to drink is impacting our bodys pH levels. Reverse Osmosis and bottled water are both bad choices as they are very acidic. Reverse Osmosis is water that is filtered to such a microscopic level that most if not all the minerals are removed. If you look at the label on bottled water that is processed through Reverse Osmosis (RO) it always states, "minerals added". Even though bottled water generally isnt as acidic as RO water we should still shy away from it since the minerals added do not create a high enough pH level for healthy drinking. Find a water system that offers the best options for optimum health and leaves the necessary minerals in your water. Make choices that are in your family's best interest there are many water system options today that leave the minerals in the water and have a healthy pH level.

To further make you think about drinking acidic Reverse Osmosis water think about this! In general, water with a low pH level of (less then 6.5) is acidic, soft and corrosive. As corrosive as this water is when it travels through our plumbing fixtures it is leaching metal ions like iron, manganese, copper, lead, and zinc from those fixtures and pipes. The fowl taste that comes from metals in the water and the health concerns of metals in drinking water is further proof that acidic water should be avoided.

Not sold yet? Take two different bowls one with Reverse Osmosis water and the other with water where the minerals have not been removed or substituted with salt and put it down for a pet. Their instincts guide them directly to the healthy water with minerals in it and they will choose the bowl with that water every time. Follow your pets instincts and your own and stay away from acidic water your body will love you for it. The long term health risks are real if you do not make this choice.

Acid Rain: How Can We Reverse Its Effects?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a position on acid rain. Their primary goal is to make changes to current rules and laws to resolve the issue of acid rain. Three environmentalists made national news by climbing to the top of a smoke stack in order to draw attention to the negligence of manufacturers in making the necessary changes to reduce acid rain.

Acid rain pollution is a problem that affects everyone. It affects earth and water and all the animals and plants which live on them. If man neglects and minimizes the threat of acid rain, his children and the following generations will have a bigger problem to deal with. New laws are created to control and hopefully reverse the effects of acid rain. The long term benefits of such laws will show if they justify their cost.

Governments are working in concert with manufacturers to reduce the emission levels of pollutants causing acid rain. On the other hand, there are many small steps individuals can do to help reduce the sulfur and nitrogen oxide in the air. Conserving energy is the biggest contribution every person can do. The amount of acid rain can be greatly reduced by such simple actions like lowering one's electricity consummation switching to other energy sources. More frequent use of public transportation or carpooling will also reduce the pollutants in the air.

The effects of acid rain are felt worldwide. Acid rain is mainly created by the combination of sulfur and oxide mixing with moisture for the sky. These pollutants are created into the air by fossil fuels, vehicle emissions, and factory exhaust. Acid rain is considered one of the biggest environmental problems faced by the world today.

Acid rain is also acid deposits resulting from sulfurs and oxides mixing with drops of rain or snow, and then dropping to the ground or rivers. Winds are also carriers of acid in the air, in a drier form. The effects of acid rain are dangerous because they are seen on water supplies, the environment, wildlife, and plant life. Acid rain will only be controlled by a global agreement and re-enforcement of laws to protect the environment.
Everyone has a role to play in reducing acid rain and daily small gestures will amount to tangible results. One has also to participate in environmental debates and forums and pressure their existing government to take a strong stand on the acid rain issue.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Harms Of Acid Rain

Acid rain is the acid precipitation whose PH value is below 5.65. It is mainly caused by the large number of acidic substances emitted by human beings into the atmosphere. The acid rain in China is mainly due to burning too much coal with high sulfur content. In addition, the large number of tail gases emitted from a variety of motor vehicles is also an important reason for the formation of acid rain. In recent years, some regions in China have been greatly affected by acid rain. The scope and extent of the pollution caused by acid rain have attracted great attention of people.

Acid rain is a complex phenomenon, which is caused by atmospheric chemical and physical factors. Acid rain contains a variety of inorganic acids and organic acids, most of which are sulfuric acid and nitric acid . The acid rain in China is mainly sulfuric acid type. There three major areas in China suffering from acid rain: southwest China; Central China; and the east coast of China.

Acid rain causes various kinds of damages to our environment as well as to human beings. First of all, it causes serious air pollution to our environment, which then leads to the changes of the regularity of seasonal and diurnal variation.

Secondly, acid rain increases the cloud in the sky, which will reduce both of the sunshine duration and solar radiation. The increasing dust particles in the sky will also reduce atmospheric transparency. What's more, the dust will weaken the ultraviolet of sunlight, which is also harmful to the health of urban residents.

Thirdly, acid rain can cause soil acidification. It will accelerate the loss of nutrients and minerals in soil, change the structure of the soil, lead to poor soil sterileness, affect the normal development of plants. What's more, it can also induce plant diseases and insect pests, thus decreasing the production of the crop.

What's more, acid rain can also bring damages to the non-metal building materials, making them black and dirty, and thus damage the building and affecting the appearance and landscape of the city.

Then what we should do to prevent and control acid rain?
Firstly, it is necessary to develop new energy sources, such as hydrogen energy, solar energy, hydroenergy, tidal energy, geothermal energy, and so on.
Secondly, it is suggested to use new technologies such as desulfurization, so as to reduce the emission of sulfur dioxide.
Thirdly, people should drive car as less as possible, and take public transport much often.
Fourthly, it is also helpful to use natural gas and other cleaner energies instead of coal.