Acid Rain

Acid rain is a serious problem with disastrous effects. Each day this problem increases and many people believe that this issue is too small to bother with right now. This issue should be met head on and resolved before it is too late. In the following paragraphs I will be discussing the impact acid rain has on the wildlife and how our atmosphere is being destroyed by acid rain.
Acid rain is a cancer eating into the face of eastern Canada and the north eastern United States. In Canada, the main sulfuric acid sources are non-ferrous smelters and power plants. On both sides of the Canada-United States border, cars and trucks are the main sources for nitric acid (about 40% of the total), while power generating plants, industrial, commercial, and residential fuel combustion together contribute most of the rest. In the air, the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can be transformed into sulfuric acid and nitric acid, and the air current can send them thousands of miles from the source. When the acids fall to the earth in any form it will have large impact on the growth or the preservation of certain wildlife.
Areas like Ontario, Canada, mainly southern regions that are near the Great Lakes, have substances such as limestone or other known antacids that can neutralize acids entering the body of water thereby protecting it. However, large areas of Ontario that are near the Pre-Cambrian Shield, with quartzite or granite based geology and little top soil, do not posses enough buffering capacity to neutralize even small amounts of acid falling on the soil and the lakes. Therefore over time, the basic environment shifts from an alkaline to a acidic one. This is why many lakes in the Muskoka, Haliburton, Algonquin, Parry Sound and Manitoulin districts could lose their fisheries if sulfur emissions are not reduced substantially.
The mean average of pH rainfall in Ontario\'s Muskoka-Haliburton lake country ranges between 3.95 and 4.38 about 40 times more acidic than normal rainfall, while storms in Pennsylvania have rainfall pH at 2.8 it almost has the same rating for vinegar.
Already 140 Ontario lakes are completely dead or dying. An additional 48,000 are sensitive and vulnerable to acid rain due to the surrounding concentrated acidic soils.
Canada does not have as many people, power plants or automobiles as the United States, and yet acid rain in Canada has become so severe that Canadian government officials called it the most pressing environmental issue facing the nation. But it is important to bear in mind that acid rain is only one segment, of the widespread pollution of the atmosphere facing the world. Each year the global atmosphere is on the receiving end of 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide, 130 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 97 million tons of hydrocarbons, 53 million tons of nitrogen oxides, more than three million tons of arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, zinc and other toxic metals, and a host of synthetic organic compounds ranging from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to toxaphene and other pesticides. A number of these may be capable of causing cancer, birth defects, or genetic imbalances.
Interactions of pollutants can cause problems. In addition to contributing to acid rain, nitrogen oxides can react with hydrocarbons to produce ozone, a major air pollutant responsible in the United States for annual losses of $2 billion to 4.5 billion worth of wheat, corn, soy beans, and peanuts.
In Ontario, Canada alone the fish in an estimated 4000 lakes have been lost and provincial authorities calculate that Ontario stands to lose the fish in 48,500 more lakes within the next twenty years if acid rain continues at the present rate. Ontario is not alone, on Nova Scotia\'s eastern most shores, almost every river flowing to the Atlantic Ocean is poisoned with acid. Further threatening a $2 million a year fishing industry.
Acid rain is killing more than lakes. It can scar the leaves of hardwood forests, wither ferns and lichens, accelerate the death of coniferous needles, sterilize seeds, and weaken the forests to a state that is vulnerable to disease infestation and decay. In the soil the acid neutralizes chemicals vital for growth, strips others from the soil and carries them to