Acid Rain Paper

Acid rain can be a very harmful addition to the environment. People’s everyday actions such as burning coal and oil in power plants, using factories and automobiles lead to an increased chance for acid rain. It is mostly dangerous to lakes, streams, forests, and deadly to the plants and animals that build their homes in these ecosystems. Acid rain can also strongly affect people when they are inhaled, causing possible health problems.
Acid rain occurs when sulfuric acid and nitric acid form and fall to Earth’s surface as rain or snow. Sulfur dioxide, sulfur trioxide, and nitrogen dioxide are the compounds in the air that cause acid rain to occur. The four common acids formed by these compounds include sulfuric acid, sulfurous acid, nitric acid, and nitrous acid. Sulfur dioxide (SO2), the most damaging of the sulfur-containing compounds and produced by burning coal and oil in power plants, combines with water in the atmosphere producing sulfurous acid, one of the four common acids in acid rain. The chemical equation is as follows:
SO2(g) + H2O(l) ↔ H2SO3(aq)
Sulfur dioxide also reacts with O2 or O3 in the atmosphere and oxidizes to sulfur trioxide (SO3). The chemical equation for this reaction looks like this:
2SO2(g) + O2(g) → 2SO3(g)
When sulfur trioxide (SO3) is formed it reacts with the moisture in the air thus creating sulfuric acid, another one of the four common acids. The chemical equation for this is:
SO3(g) + H2O(l) → H2SO4(aq)
Car exhausts is another factor that contributes to acidic air pollution which forms nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) then reacts with water to form nitrous acid (HNO2) and nitric acid (HNO3), the last two of the four common acids in acid rain. The equation for this reaction is:
2NO2(g) + H2O(l) → HNO2(aq) + HNO3(aq)
As said earlier, the burning of coal in power plants can lead to acid rain. The reason for this is coal contains sulfur and when burned, coal sulfur dioxide in the troposphere which in turn leads to...