Made by Macarena Diz Díaz 9ºB
ESSAY: “Possible solutions that Science may apply to solve or minimize the problem of acid rain”
Acid rain is a serious environmental problem that damages the ecosystems (lakes, forest, plants, animals…). It is produced because of some gases which are produced by fabrics, cars, power plants… The gases are the result of burning carbon or oil. When these gases (nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide) are in the atmosphere, they react with water vapour, and they form sulphuric acid and nitric acid. Finally, when it rains, these compounds come down with the water and damage some places.
Normally, the rain has a little bit of acid compounds, but it is produced because of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We can know if it is acid rain measuring the pH of the water. Normally rain water has a ph 5.6, and we can consider acid rain if it has a pH less than 5.
Volcanoes and the geysers do also affect this theme, because when they erupt, they transfer the gases I’ve said before to the atmosphere, but we can’t stop this factor because it does not depend on us, they are natural forces.
Acid rain does not affect humans directly, but it affects the buildings in which we live, the plants and vegetables that we eat… If acid rain increases, it will destroy our sources of life.
Like I’ve already said, one of the causes of the acid rain is the sulphur dioxide, so I will focus my essay of this theme: how can we decrease the production of this gas?
In this image we can see how sulphur acid affect the process of the acid rain.
Development There is a solution to this problem, scientists have developed a way of taking off the sulphur from fuels, so the sulphur doesn’t go to the atmosphere, so we don’t created sulphur dioxide, so no acids will be created and the acid rain will be stopped.
The main point is to reduce it in the transport’s combustibles, and this can be done by two ways: reducing sulphur little by little or taking all the sulphur away at one time. It would be easier to do it little by little because you can go step by step and see what is working and what is not of the project. The second option, which is to take away all the sulphur of the combustibles, would be more difficult, but it would be cheaper and faster because you don’t have to spend time and money every time you take a little bit of sulphur away. I will focus the essay in the first one, because it is the most questioned in the entire world.
To make this, lot of countries are introducing new laws that obligate companies to use fuels without sulphur. Also, scientists are developing new ways of energy, as electricity to move mobiles, so less sulphur is expels to the atmosphere.
Benefits and limitations:
The limitations of this solution are: you are going to spend a lot of time developing this project, because first you have to reduce the sulphur in the combustible, then build cars adapted to this new combustible and at the end, the people should buy these cars to use it (the governments of countries would like to help the people to change them vehicles giving for example money or free combustible one year, it would spend money of the government, but the people who buy the new vehicles will be more). Another limitation is that in the process of this project we have to pay a lot of money and if it is taken, it would be taken from the Government of each country, and the citizens should be in agreement with the decision, which is difficult to get.
The benefits are: the decrease of the sulphur will affect the effectiveness of the transports, because they will work better with the combustible without/with less sulphur and we will not need to spend so much money to maintain the vehicles. This is because cars damage with the sulphur, so if we are using fuels without sulphur, the cars will damage less.
With the time, we will not have to pay so much for the combustible, because the decrease of sulphur in the combustibles will decrease the money the combustible costs, this is another benefit because the new ways of fuels are cheaper to create, so the price that we will pay for it, will be less. That is because for example, the electricity is easier to produce than getting gasoline from the subsoil. There has been a lot of investigation done and they prove that if we decrease the quantity of sulphur, our own healthy is going to be better, because it is not healthy to us breath this gas, the third benefit.
This theme interacts with some factors. For example, socially it affects to some people who don’t want to change their vehicle because they think acid rain is not going to affect them, but it is not true, acid rain is already affecting all over the world and it can affect their houses too.
Economically, it would affect, because the country has to give money to investigate and to develop the project, but at the end, like I’ve already said, it will benefit us, because we will pay less for the combustible of the vehicles. But if the countries make an agreement, it could affect less economically. If every country develops the investigation of this project in their own they will discover the same but spending a lot of money each country, than if they do the same investigation but in an agreement, because if the investigation costs 2 millions of dollars (it is an example), if there is only one country paying it the cost is bigger and if there are 10 countries, the cost is ten times less, so it is better to do only one investigation dividing the cost into all the countries.
Obviously we have an environmental interaction because it will affect the environment, because if we reduce the quantity of sulphur in the combustibles, when they burn, the vehicles expel the gases that they produce to the atmosphere, and one of these gases is sulphuric acid, which when it reacts with the water vapour forms the acid rain that affects nature, the buildings and the people in general. If acid rain affects nature, it also means that affects the food of some animals, and they can be extinguished.
I think this could be a big step in science, because we could end with acid rain and stop a source of pollution that is absolutely not necessary to use, because the vehicles are going to work better without sulphur and the care of them will be cheaper. When we finish paying the project, it would be all easier, because it is obvious that we spend a lot of money paying it, but at the end we will have more benefits than limitations. For example, we will not repair so many times the buildings affected by acid rain, because there will not be acid rain. We can think also in the forest and animals that we safe doing this. This is a difficult project to develop, but the results are comforting.