Acid Rain LegislationAcid rain is a destructive force as a result of nature and man colliding.It is formed through harmful industrial emissions combining with contents ofthe earth’s atmosphere; a dangerous combination. This prompted governmentsthroughout North America to take action.
Many laws and regulations have beenimplemented, yet the question still remains, “Should tougher legislation beimplemented to force industries to reduce acid rain emissions?”To decide whether tougher legislation should be implemented, one mustfirst understand the details of what exactly acid rain is. Acid rain is aresult of mankind’s carelessness. It travels a long one of the most efficientbiogeochemical cycles on earth, the Hydrologic Cycle. This allows acid rain todistribute itself further away from it’s source causing more than local problems.
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is released by fossil fuels when they undergo combustion.Power plants and other fossil fuel burning industrial areas release variousforms of nitrous oxides (Nox). These two chemical compounds combine with thewater in the atmosphere to form what is known as acid rain.The main reason that has prompted legislation of industrial emissionsfrom governments is because of the negative effects they can have on theenvironment. Acid rain is harmful to the environment because of it’s low pH.It can harm the biotic components of earth, and also the abiotic components.It’s high acidity degrades soil to the point where it cannot support any type ofplant life.
Trees in forests are killed over long-term exposure. When thesetrees are killed, an imbalance in the hydrologic cycle can occur. Withoutliving trees to consume the precipitate, it must be consumed by the earth or anyother plants.
These will receive an excess of water, causing other problems inthe hydrologic cycle. This in turn causes a chain reaction of death among ourforests. Some regions are more susceptible to acid rain because they don’t haveenough Alkaline soil to “neutralize” the acid before it is able to destroy therest of the soil or before it can run off into lakes or rivers. Aquaticenvironments can be greatly affected by soil runoff. Acidic soil may runoffinto lakes and rivers due to erosion, causing acid rain to destroy moreenvironment. Acid rain aquatic animals as well as aquatic plant life. Whenacid rain combines with water in major bodies of water, it not only destroyswildlife habitat, it destroys our drinking water.
An aquatic ecosystem is verydependent on each and every aspect within itself. Once one species dies off,others that depend on it, will eventually begin to die off also. Thissystematic chain continues until the entire body of water is completely abiotic.The reason acid rain is so effective in destroying ecosystems is because itharms everything in that particular ecosystem. Being distributed through thehydrologic cycle, acid rain is capable of destroying everything in it’s path.
Many laws and agreements have been implemented by governments in NorthAmerica to reduce acid rain emissions. The question governments are asking is:”Are these regulations enough?”. One of the more famous laws/organizationsimplemented by North American governments was the “Clean Air Act” which wassigned in 1991. Also in 1991, Canada signed an agreement with the United statesconcerning air quality. Media explains that the agreement has enough frameworkto address all transboundary air pollution issues. It is a very broad/generalagreement that should highly reduce air pollution between these two majorcountries of the world.
This agreement contains other specific commitments foremissions reductions relating to acid rain precursors and research as well as acommitment to review the Agreement in it’s fifth year. This allows forexpansion of the agreement in the near future. Research and studies forced bythis agreement is also an intelligent decision among these countries; educationis the basis of all knowledge.
Besides agreements and legislations of sorts,technology is an awesome force in the reduction of acid rain emissions. Theonly down side to this technology is that it is extremely expensive. Scrubbershave been placed in the smokestacks to remove harmful emissions. Lime is usedin lakes to “neutralize” the low pH levels. Without studies being conducted andresearch being taken out on acid rain, these technologies would not be heretoday. This is why education may be the ultimate technology in the reduction ofacid rain emissions.Should tougher legislation be implemented to force industry to reduceacid rain emissions? From an environmental point of view..
.yes, anything thatcan be done, should be done. Whether it be through studies, research, newtechnologies, anything for our environment. From an economical point ofview.
..no, technology is very expensive and hardly affordable in terms of mostindustries. Technology can reduce the dangers of acid rain, but at what cost?Tougher legislation should be implemented to preserve our environments, topreserve our lifestyle, and life on earth.Social Issues