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Acid Rain, Its Causes And Ways To Solve

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Acid rain can be a threat to both humans and the ecosystem and because humans are mostly the ones to blame for causing acid rain, I believe that they have the obligation to protect the environment. First of all, what causes acid rain? There are 2 main causes of acid rain, which are natural sources and man-made sources. However even though they are the 2 main causes, humans are the ones who cause the most acid rain. Human activities such as manufacturing, facilities and vehicles results in gas emission such as sulfuric acid (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx). The gases emitted from these sources can go high into the atmosphere, and mix with water, oxygen and other compounds resulting in acidic rain. There are 2 types of acidic rain: wet deposition and dry deposition. Wet deposition is caused when the acids fall to the ground in the form of something wet: rain, fog, snow or mist. Wet deposition effects a large amount of the ecosystem. A dry deposition is when the acid comes in forms such as dust and smoke. Dry depositions seem to stick to the ground and buildings and can slowly eat away at some of them. There are many things that acid rain can destroy, and one example is in waterways, such as lakes, rivers etc. The acid slowly wipes out one species and one after another.

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There are a few ways in which we can solve acid rain, and by far humans seem to have chosen the most buyable options or the simplest options. The only way to fight acid rain is to reduce the amount of fossil fuels are used, however that can be complicated because humans have already adapted into living with fossil fuels and using it as a main source of energy and constantly releasing more sulfuric acid (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the air. Governments have tried to promote other energy sources, however the result of that has not been entirely good. The government seems to have the most authority and is the most useful in preventing acid rain, however individual people can prevent acid rain just by carpooling, using public transportations or simply just walking. Carpooling and public transportations still run on engines and release gas, but using one engine for a lot of people seems a lot more convenient rather than one engine just for a few people maximum.

Now, there are whole lakes that remain acidic and are waiting to be neutralized. For the environment, the government has chosen to use lime, in a process called liming to neutralize the waters. However, liming is only a short-term solution and some of the gasses emitted from the chemical reaction between the lime powder and the water make gases that can-do harm to the human body. These are only reliable when the lakes absolutely need to be neutralized, but there are other things that can be done to stabilize the atmosphere. Another solution is to use these machines called scrubbers and they undergo a process called flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) to wipe out at least 95% of the gasses out which include gasses like nitrogen oxides (NOx) and acids such as sulfuric acid (SO2). The problem with this solution is that It is quite costly on the side of money. The simplest solution is to use natural gas instead of burning coal. This solution is called Emission Reduction Strategies.

There is always the possibility that humans do end up protecting the environment, and the possibility that they don’t. If humans do not end up protecting the environment, the weakest species will perish first and it might seem like something normal until more and more get wiped out. Eventually only the strongest of species will be left to live, and they too will be eliminated after the situation gets too bad. After this happens, some species will become extinct. This can affect humans as well, or especially people who rely on animals to make a living, like fishers and hunters. They will have problems with earning money and will be forced to make an alternative. Now remember, this is only a possibility and other things can happen that are both predictable and unpredictable. There can be other outcomes that are more positive, like humans being able to protect the environment after seeing what happens when they don’t protect it.

I feel like we are morally obligated to solve the problem, just because we are the main cause of it. We humans have always been taught to solve the problems we create, and acid rain is one example of a problem we caused. We humans already have an idea on what to do to try and solve that problem, but the thing is that we never actually put the planned solution into action. Something else referring to the fact that we were taught to solve our own problems is that we should not only solve problems within our own race, but our whole environment because we live and we depend on our surrounding environment.  

31 October 2020

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