Sandra P., Sandra M. Agnieszka, Ania
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ACID RAIN




Acid rain -is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, i.e. elevated levels of hydrogen ions. It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure through the process of wet deposition. Acid rain is caused by emissions of compounds of ammonium, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur which react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids. Governments have made efforts since the 1970s to reduce the production of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere with positive results. However, it can also be caused naturally by the splitting of nitrogen compounds by the energy produced by lightning strikes, or the release of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere by volcano eruptions.

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Emissions of chemicals leading to acidification
The most important gas which leads to acidification is sulfur dioxide. Emissions of nitrogen oxides which are oxidized to form nitric acid are of increasing importance due to stricter controls on emissions of sulfur containing compounds. 70 Tg(S) per year in the form of SO2 comes from fossil fuel combustion and industry, 2.8 Tg(S) from wildfires and 7-8 Tg(S) per year from volcanoes.




Natural phenomena
The principal natural phenomena that contribute acid-producing gases to the atmosphere are emissions from volcanoes. Thus, for example, fumaroles from Laguna Caliente crater of Poás Volcano create extremely acid rain and fog with acidity 2 of pH, clearing an area of any vegetation and frequently causing irritation to the eyes and lungs of inhabitants in nearby settlements. Acid-producing gasses are created also by biological processes that occur on the land, in wetlands, and in the oceans. The major biological source of sulfur containing compounds is dimethyl sulfide.
Nitric acid in rainwater is an important source of fixed nitrogen for plant life, and is also produced by electrical activity in the atmosphere such as lightning.
Acidic deposits have been detected in glacial ice thousands of years old in remote parts of the globe.



Human activity
The principal cause of acid rain is sulfur and nitrogen compounds from human sources, such as electricity generation, factories, and motor vehicles. Coal power plants are one of the most polluting. The gases can be carried hundreds of kilometers in the atmosphere before they are converted to acids and deposited. In the past, factories had short funnels to let out smoke but this caused many problems locally; thus, factories now have taller smoke funnels. However, dispersal from these taller stacks causes pollutants to be carried farther, causing widespread ecological damage. Also,livestock production plays a major role. It is responsible for almost two-thirds of all anthropogenic sources of ammonia produced through human activities, which contributes significantly to acid rain.




Adverse effects
Acid rain has been shown to have adverse impacts on forests, freshwaters and soils, killing insect and aquatic life-forms as well as causing damage to buildings and having impacts on human health.
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Prevention methods 1.Technical solutions - in the United States, many coal-burning power plants use Flue gas desulfurization to remove sulfur-containing gases from their stack gases
2.International treaties - a number of international treaties on the long range transport of atmospheric pollutants have been agrees e.g. Sulphur Emissions Reduction Protocol

3.Emissions trading - in this regulatory scheme, every current polluting facility is given or may purchase on an open market an emissions allowance for each unit of a designated pollutant it emits. Operators can then install pollution control equipment, and sell portions of their emissions allowances they no longer need for their own operations, thereby recovering some of the capital cost of their investment in such equipment. The intention is to give operators economic incentives to install pollution control.






Trees killed by acid rain

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