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INTRODUCTION: Acid rain is a great problem in our world. It causes fishand plants to die in our waters. As well it causes harm to our own race aswell, because we eat these fish, drink this water and eat these plants. Itis a problem that we must all face together and try to get rid of. Howeveracid rain on it's own is not the biggest problem. It cause many otherproblems 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 ontoour planet that contains an unnatural acidic. It is not to be confused withuncontaminated rain that falls, for that rain is naturally slightly acidic.It is caused by today's industry. When products are manufactured manychemicals are used to create it. However because of the difficulty and costof properly disposing of these products they are often emitted into theatmosphere with little or no treatment.
The term was first considered to be important about 20 years ago whenscientists in Sweden and Norway first believed that acidic rain may becausing great ecological damage to the planet. The problem was that by thetime that the scientist found the problem it was already very large.Detecting an acid lake is often quite difficult. A lake does not becomeacid over night. It happens over a period of many years, some timesdecades. The changes are usually to gradual for them to be noticed early.
At the beginning of the 20th century most rivers/lakes like the riverTovdal in Norway had not yet begun to die. However by 1926 local inspectorswere 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 icebegan to melt off more and more hundreds upon hundreds more dead fish(trout in particular) were being found. It was at this time that scientistbegan to search for the reason. As the scientists continued to work theyfound many piles of dead fish, up to 5000 in one pile, further up theriver. Divers were sent in to examine the bottom of the rivers. What theyfound were many more dead fish. Many live and dead specimens were takenback to labs across Norway. When the live specimens were examined they werefound to have very little sodium in their blood. This is typical a typicalsymptom of acid poisoning. The acid had entered the gills of the fish andpoisoned them so that they were unable to extract salt from the water tomaintain their bodies sodium levels.
Many scientist said that this acid poising was due to the fact that itwas just after the winter and that all the snow and ice was running downinto the streams and lakes. They believed that the snow had been exposed tomany natural phenomena that gave the snow it's high acid content. Otherscientists were not sure that this theory was correct because at the timethat the snow was added to the lakes and streams the Ph levels would changefrom around 5.2 to 4.6. They believed that such a high jump could not beattributed to natural causes. They believed that it was due to airpollution. They were right. Since the beginning of the Industrialrevolution in England pollution had been affecting all the trees,soil andrivers in Europe and North America.
However until recently the loses of fish was contained to the southernparts of Europe. Because of the constant onslaught of acid rain lakes andrivers began to lose their ability to counter act their affects. Much ofthe alkaline elements; such as calcium and limestone; in the soil had beenwashed away. It is these lakes that we must be worried about for they willsoon become extinct.
A fact that may please fishermen is that in lakes/rivers they tend tocatch older and larger fish. This may please them in the short run howeverthey will soon have to change lakes for the fish supply will die quickly inthese lakes. The problem is that acid causes difficulties the fish'sreproductive system. Often fish born in acid lakes do not survive for theyare born with birth defects such as twisted and deformed spinal columns.This is a sign that they are unable to extract enough calcium from thewater to fully develop their bone. These young soon die. With nocompetition the older,stronger can grow easily. However there food iscontaminated as well by the acid in the water. Soon they have not
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