Acid Rain

By Michael Brandt

What is it?

Acid rain" is a broad term referring to a mixture of wet and dry deposition (deposited material) from the atmosphere containing higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids.

Source: "What Is Acid Rain?"EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

Effects on Nature

This acid rain can leach toxic aluminum from the soil, which at low levels can stress fish in lakes and streams or, at higher concentrations, kill them outright. Acid rain also weakens trees in forests and contributes to air pollution that can harm humans.

Acid rain causes acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to the 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.

"Effects of Acid Rain." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

"Pollution." World Wildlife Fund, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Effects on Humans

Acid rain looks, feels, and tastes just like clean rain. The harm to people from acid rain is not direct. Walking in acid rain, or even swimming in an acid lake, is no more dangerous than walking or swimming in clean water. However, the pollutants that cause acid rain—sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)—do damage human health.These gases interact in the atmosphere to form fine sulfate and nitrate particles that can be transported long distances by winds and inhaled deep into people's lungs Many scientific studies have identified a relationship between elevated levels of fine particles and increased illness and premature death from heart and lung disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis.

"Effects of Acid Rain - Human Health." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.


• Burning fossil fuels is still one of the cheapest ways to produce electricity so people are now researching new ways to burn fuel which don't produce so much pollution.• Governments need to spend more money on pollution control even if it does mean an increase in the price of electricity.• Sulphur can also be 'washed' out of smoke by spraying a mixture of water and powdered limestone into the smokestack.• Cars are now fitted with catalytic converters which remove three dangerous chemicals from exhaust gases.

"What Is Acid Rain?" What Is Acid Rain? NC State, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

How to be an Advocate

A great way to reduce acid rain is to produce energy without using fossil fuels. Instead, people can use renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. Renewable energy sources help reduce acid rain because they produce much less pollution. These energy sources can be used to power machinery and produce electricity.

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