Acid Rain Essay 9

868 words - 4 pages

Acid Rain, form of air pollution, currently a subject of great controversy because of the widespread environmental damage for which it has been blamed. It forms when oxides of sulphur and nitrogen combine with atmospheric moisture to yield sulphuric and nitric acids, which may then be carried long distances from their source before they are deposited by rain. The pollution may also take the form of snow or fog or be precipitated in dry forms. In fact, although the term “acid rain” has been in use for more than a century—it is derived from atmospheric studies that were made in the region of Manchester, England—the more accurate scientific term would be “acid deposition”. The dry form of such ...view middle of the document...

Industrial emissions have been blamed as the major cause of acid rain. Because the chemical reactions involved in the production of acid rain in the atmosphere are complex and as yet little understood, industries have tended to challenge such assessments and to stress the need for further studies; and because of the cost of pollution reduction, governments have tended to support this attitude. Studies released by the US government in the early 1980s, however, strongly implicated industries as the main source of acid rain, in the eastern United States and Canada. In 1988, as part of the United Nations Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Agreement (1979), 25 nations ratified a protocol freezing the rate of nitrogen oxides emissions at 1987 levels. The 1990 amendments to the US Clean Air Act of 1967 put in place regulations to reduce the release of sulphur dioxide from power plants by half to about 10 million tonnes per year by January 2000. A further reduction to 8.95 million tonnes was introduced in 2000 to be achieved by 2007, although it is not expected to be realized until 2010.

In Europe, the 1979 Convention is administered through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The UNECE produced the first Sulphur Protocol (1985), which called for a reduction of sulphur emissions to 70 per cent of 1980 levels by 1993 (this was the only UNECE protocol not signed by the United Kingdom, although it nevertheless achieved the reduction, as did the 21 countries that did sign); the Nitrogen Oxides protocol (1988), which stipulated that total annual emissions of nitrogen oxides...

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