crops and other vegetation, damages buildings and monuments, corrodes copper and
lead piping, damages such man-made things as automobiles, reduces soil fertility
rain’s acidity is pH 5.6-5.7, actual pH readings vary from place to place
depending upon the type and amount of other gases present in the air, such as
(electrically charged atoms) in water and is measured on a scale from 0 to 14.
Seven is considered neutral and measurements below seven are acidic while those
above it are basic or alkaline. Every point on the pH scale represents a tenfold
and 100 times more so than pH 6. Similarly, pH 9 is 1O times more basic than pH
of air pollutants– sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These are
emitted primarily from utility and smelter "smokestacks" and
these pollutants reach the atmosphere they combine with gaseous water in clouds
and change to acids–sulphuric acid and nitric acid. Then, rain and snow wash
these acids from the air. Acid rain affects lakes, streams, rivers, bays, ponds
and other bodies of water by increasing their acidity until fish and other
and 9.2 (Bourodemos). As acidity increases (pH numbers become lower), submerged
aquatic plants decrease and deprive waterfowl of their basic food source. At pH
6, freshwater shrimp cannot survive. At pH 5.5, bottom-dwelling bacterial
decomposers begin to die and leave undecomposed leaf litter and other organic
debris to collect on the bottom. This deprives plankton–tiny creatures that
form the base of the aquatic food chain–of food, so that they too disappear.
Below a pH of about 4.5, all fish die. Acid rain harms more than aquatic life.
acid rain. Scientists believe that acid rain damages the protective waxy coating
of leaves and allows acids to diffuse into them, which interrupts the
evaporation of water and gas exchange so that the plant no longer can breathe.
This stops the plant’s conversion of nutrients and water into a form useful for
plant growth and affects crop yields. Perhaps the most important effects of acid
rain on forests result from nutrient leaching, accumulation of toxic metals and
trees of nutrition.