INTRODUCTION: Acid rain is a great problem in our world. It causes fish
and plants to die in our waters. As well it causes harm to our own race as
well, because we eat these fish, drink this water and eat these plants. It
is a problem that we must all face together and try to get rid of. However
acid rain on it's own is not the biggest problem. It cause many other
problems such as aluminum poisoning. Acid Rain is deadly.
WHAT IS ACID RAIN?
Acid rain is all the rain, snow, mist etc that falls from the sky
onto our planet that contains an unnatural acidic. It is not to be
confused with uncontaminated rain that falls, for that rain is naturally
slightly acidic. It is caused by today's industry. When products are
manufactured many chemicals are used to create it. However because of the
difficulty and cost of properly disposing of these products they are often
emitted into the atmosphere with little or no treatment.
The term was first considered to be important about 20 years ago when
scientists in Sweden and Norway first believed that acidic rain may be
causing great ecological damage to the planet. The problem was that by the
time that the scientist found the problem it was already very large.
Detecting an acid lake is often quite difficult. A lake does not become
acid over night. It happens over a period of many years, some times
decades. The changes are usually to gradual for them to be noticed early.
At the beginning of the 20th century most rivers/lakes like the river
Tovdal in Norway had not yet begun to die. However by 1926 local
inspectors were noticing that many of the lakes were beginning to show
signs of death. Fish were found dead along the banks of many rivers. As
the winters ice began to melt off more and more hundreds upon hundreds
more dead fish (trout in particular) were being found. It was at this time
that scientist began to search for the reason. As the scientists continued
to work they found many piles of dead fish, up to 5000 in one pile,
further up the river. Divers were sent in to examine the bottom of the
rivers. What they found were many more dead fish. Many live and dead
specimens were taken back to labs across Norway. When the live specimens
were examined they were found to have very little sodium in their blood.
This is typical a typical symptom of acid poisoning. The acid had entered
the gills of the fish and poisoned them so that they were unable to
extract salt from the water to maintain their bodies sodium levels.
Many scientist said that this acid poising was due to the fact that
it was just after the winter and that all the snow and ice was running
down into the streams and lakes. They believed that the snow had been
exposed to many natural phenomena that gave the snow it's high acid
content. Other scientists were not sure that this theory was correct
because at the time that the snow was added to the lakes and streams the
Ph levels would change from around 5.2 to 4.6. They believed that such a
high jump could not be attributed to natural causes. They believed that it
was due to air pollution. They were right. Since the beginning of the
Industrial revolution in England pollution had been affecting all the
trees,soil and rivers in Europe and North America.
However until recently the loses of fish was contained to the
southern parts of Europe. Because of the constant onslaught of acid rain
lakes and rivers began to lose their ability to counter act their affects.
Much of the alkaline elements; such as calcium and limestone; in the soil
had been washed away. It is these lakes that we must be worried about for
they will soon become extinct.
A fact that may please fishermen is that in lakes/rivers they tend to
catch older and larger fish. This may please them in the short run however
they will soon have to change lakes for the fish supply will die quickly
in these lakes. The problem is that acid causes difficulties the fish's
reproductive system. Often fish born in acid lakes do not survive for they
are born with birth defects such as twisted and deformed spinal columns.
This is a sign that they are unable to extract enough calcium from the