Acid rain is a serious problem in our environment. It affects almost all areas in the world. Today it is one of the main topics that the EPA discusses to prevent and researches ways that acid rain can be curbed. Acid rain originates from pollution in the environment and leads to the deaths of many wildlife and trees. This is a serious matter.
Acid rain causes acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to the damage of trees at high elevations. Acid rain forms when sulfur dioxide, mercury and nitrous oxide come from pollution into the air. A major source of acid rain is from the burning of fossil fuels. Mainly the pollution comes from power plants that produce electricity. The wind carries the acidic particles throughout cities, towns and the countryside. Acid precipitation falling on land washes away certain mineral ions, such as calcium and magnesium ions. These ions help buffer the soil solution and are essential nutrients for plant growth. Scientists discovered, and have confirmed, that sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NO) are the primary causes of acid rain. It occurs when these gases react with water, oxygen and other various compounds to form Sulfuric Acid, Nitric Acid, or other acidic substances. Most acid rains have pHs of 4.3, strong enough to irritate skin. Acid rain flows to streams, lakes, and marshes from forest runoff, fields, businesses and roads. Lakes and streams become acidic when the water itself and its surrounding soils cannot buffer enough to neutralize it. .
Acid rain causes a cascade of effects that kill aquatic life. Both low pH and aluminum kills fish. The ecosystem is completely affected. For example, a frog can tolerate high pH levels, but its prey the mayfly cannot. Frogs then cannot find a source of food and starve to death. Biodiversity also decreases. The number of species of fish and aquatic life extremely declines. The ecosystem becomes unbalanced, species die because they are immediately affected or their prey is unavailable.