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Acid Deposition

     Marshy Spruce Forest Damaged by Acid Rain Forests, lakes, ponds, and other terrestrial and aquatic environments throughout the world are being severely damaged by the effects of acid rain. Acid rain is caused by the combination of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen compounds with water in the atmosphere to produce rain with a very low pH. Normally, rainwater has a pH of 6.5, making it very slightly acidic. However, with the addition of sulphur and nitrogen compounds, the pH of rainwater may drop to as low as 2.0 or 3.0, similar to the acidity of vinegar. In addition to chemically burning the leaves of plants, acid rain poisons lakewater, which kills most if not all of the aquatic inhabitants.Oxford Scientific Films/Steffen Hauser

     Also associated with the burning of fossil fuels is acid deposition, which is caused by the emission of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides into the air from power plants and motor vehicles. These chemicals interact with sunlight, moisture, and oxidants to produce sulphuric and nitric acids, which are carried with the atmospheric circulation and come to Earth in rainfall and snowfall, commonly referred to as acid rain, and as dry deposits in the form of dry particles and atmospheric gases.

     Acid rain is a localized problem. The acidity of some precipitation in northern North America and Europe is equivalent to that of vinegar. Acid rain corrodes metals, weathers stone buildings and monuments, injures and kills vegetation, and acidifies lakes, streams, and soils, especially in the poorly buffered regions of north-eastern North America and northern Europe. In these regions, lake acidification has killed some fish populations. It is also now a problem in the south-eastern and western United States. Acid rain can also slow forest growth, and forest die-back has been major problem. It is associated with forest decline at high elevations in both North America and Europe.



Tomorrow morning when you get up to take a nice deep breath, It will make you feel rotten.

~Citizens for Clean Air, Inc. (New York)