Smog and Acidic Rain

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by RecklessRafel
Last updated 6 years ago


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Smog and Acidic Rain

Smog and Acidic Rain

1. What Is the issue?

Acid Rain: rainfall made sufficiently acidic by atmospheric pollution that it causes environmental harm, typically to forests and lakes. The main cause is the industrial burning of coal and other fossil fuels, the waste gases from which contain sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which combine with atmospheric water to form acids.

Smog:fog or haze combined with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants mainly with CO2 and other various chemicals.

2. When did it began?

Smog:When a thick fog engulfed London from December 5 to December 9, 1952, it mixed with black smoke emitted from homes and factories to create a deadly smog. This smog killed approximately 12,000 people and shocked the world into starting the environmental movement.

Acid Rain:The problem was first reported in Germany in the 1960's when trees in the Balck Forest were impacted. This would be the year of reporting it. Prior to that cities like London has acidic fogs in the 1800's which would have been "acid precipitation" if it were to be labeled. Similarly the release of SOx from Inco's smelter in Sudbury, Ontario in the the mid-1900s would have produced a similar effect - but again no one was looking of it.

3. How does it affect the enviroment?

4. What are some ways to resolve the issue?

Acid Rain:Acid rain affects the environment in several ways:•It can leach nutrients from the soil making then unavailable to plant life.•It an affect the growth of plants as many plants have a specific soil pH for optimum growth •Acid precipitation can change the ionic balance in clayey soils affecting their structure.•In some soils acid precipitation may free up metals (e.g. lead) in the soil that can be taken up by the plants and contaminate the associated seeds or fruit.•It can affect fish and amphibians by reducing the pH of the water impacting their health and breeding success

Smog contains many small particles, including ozone, pollens, topsoil, wood smoke, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, organic compounds, hydrocarbons and road dust. Smog negatively affects both the environment and human health. Cities with high levels of smog are typically not desirable places to live.

One important step will be the replacement of fossil fuel energy sources with renewables like solar power and wind power. As we phase out fossil fuels and replace them with renewable fuels both smog and acid rain will start to disappear entirely. This will be an important side benefit of the efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which because it causes global warming is of much greater urgency than other pollutants

Acid rain is primarily caused by sulfur containing fuels, primarily diesel and coal. These fuels emit sulfur dioxide when burned, which then transforms to sulfuric acid resulting in acid rain. To stop it you must reduce or eliminate sulfur in fuels. Regulations to reduce sulfur content of fuels have been in effect for a couple of decades now and have been effective in significantly reducing sulfur emissions. New much stricter regulations are just now going into effect to drastically reduce allowable sulfur levels and can be expected to dramatically reduce acid rain over time, but as long as we burn fossil fuels it will be impractical to completely eliminate it.


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