How Does Acid Rain Affect The Environment

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Acid rain causes a cascade of effects that harm or kill individual fish, reduce fish population numbers, completely eliminate fish species from a water body, and decrease biodiversity. As acid rain flows through soils in a watershed, aluminum is released from soils into the lakes and streams located in that watershed. So, as pH in a lake or stream decreases, aluminum levels increase. Both low pH and increased aluminum levels are directly toxic to fish. In addition, low pH and increased aluminum levels cause chronic stress that may not kill individual fish, but leads to lower body weight and smaller size and makes fish less able to compete for food and habitat. Acid rain can hurt the environment in many ways one that gets affected by acid rain…show more content…
For example, although lakes smaller than 10 acres were not included in the NSWS, there are from one to four times as many of these small lakes as there are larger lakes. In the Adirondacks, the percentage of acidic lakes is significantly higher when it includes smaller lakes. Streams flowing over soil with low buffering capacity are as susceptible to damage from acid rain as lakes. Approximately 580 of the streams in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain are acidic primarily due to acidic deposition. In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, for example, over 90 percent of the streams are acidic, which is the highest rate of acidic streams in the nation. Over 1,350 of the streams in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands are acidic, primarily due to acidic deposition.

Acid rain can hurt the plants in the forest environment because when the plant start drinking the acid rain it makes the plants natural defense weaker. In doing that they are easier to die by diseases because they do not have much natural defense to protect them. It can also cause fires to the environment. Acid rain is known to take the nutrients out of soil killing trees, plants, and crops. With the low nutrients it does damage to the red spruce tree
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This may lead to unwanted growth of algae and other nuisance plants. As much as 40% of the total nitrogen entering coastal bays on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts may come from atmospheric deposition. Table I shows estimates of the percentage of nitrogen deposition which comes from the atmosphere. Acid rain can react with aluminum in the soil. Trees cannot absorb naturally occurring aluminum, but acid rain may convert it to aluminum sulfate or aluminum nitrate. These can be absorbed by the trees, and may adversely affect them.

Acid rain has not been shown to be harmful to human health, but some of the particles, which can be formed from sulfate, and nitrate ions can affect respiration. They can be transported long distances by winds and inhaled deep into people's lungs. Fine particles can also penetrate indoors. 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.

Acid deposition has also caused deterioration of buildings and monuments. Many of these are built of stone that contains calcium carbonate. Marble is one such material. The acid rain can turn the calcium carbonate to calcium sulfate. The calcium sulfate can crumble and be washed
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