Effect of Acid Rain On Aquatic Life

Rapid economic growth in China has boosted along with increasing energy demands, more coal combustion, and the emission of substantial amounts of pollutants, thereby bringing undesirable side effects such as air pollution and other environmental issues. Our lives depended largely on the air we breathe in and the water we drink. Among all the environmental pollutions, acid rain appeared as a primary concern since the late 1970s and continued to be more severe in 2010s . Acid rain is any form of precipitation that has an elevated level of hydrogen ions, meaning low pH value or acidic (Lacoma, 2018).

Emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide from factories and daily uses usually results in producing acidic rain when they react with water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acid . Carbon dioxide and water in the air can react to form a weak acid called carbonic acid following the following reaction: H2O (l) + CO2 (g) ⇌ H2CO3 (aq) Then, those carbonic acids in the air will ionize in neutral rainwater and form low concentrations of carbonate and hydronium ions: H2O (l) + H2CO3 (aq) ⇌ HCO3− (aq) + H3O+ (aq) Essentially, the production of sulfur dioxide has increased faster than ever since the 1970s (Figure 2).

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These high emissions eventually lead to high deposition, thereby increasing the amount of acid rain. Although a part of acid rain can be traced to natural phenomena such as emissions from volcanoes and biological process, acid rain produced by nature are very small in amount, and they are limited to a few regions.

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Thus, they are self-recoverable. However, the acid rain nowadays is different; the principle origin has shifted to human activities.

In China, motor vehicles, factories, and especially using coal to generate electricity which accounts for 69% of energy production in 2004 are the greatest causes to gaseous pollution that leads to the generation of acid rain (Yi, 2006). What is worse is that all factories nowadays start to replace short funnels with taller funnels to avoid local pollution but causing pollutants to be carried further . These gases can be passed to hundreds of kilometers away in the atmosphere and generate acid rain in a substantial area of human settlement and cause large ecological damage. As a result, the southern part of China where heavy industries are present has suffered from acidic precipitation with a pH value lower than 4.5 for more than ten years . That is said, 16.5% of China’s territory is affected by destructive damages such as soil damages, deforestation and even destructions to infrastructures brought by acid rain (Yi, 2006). Among all the ecological damage caused by acid rain, the damage to aquatic life system seems to be the most severe and most harmful to human because we consume water and aquatic animals (Hussen, 2000).

A census conducted by the regional government in 2005 shows that the average daily consumption of aquatic animals has surpassed 40% in Chinese people’s daily diet, and some fishing region has consumption as high as 95% in their diet (Yi, 2006). Thus, acid rain’s damage to an aquatic system will eventually impact our living quality. Thus, this research aims to investigate the relationship between the acidic living condition and the health of aquatic life. Low pH level occurred at surface water as a result of acid rain harms fish and other aquatic species in any aspect of their life. Acid rain eliminates insects and fish species thereby reduce the biodiversity in an area. According to a study conducted by Ohio State University in 1997, at pH level lower than 5, most fish will lose the ability to produce eggs, and lower pHs than five can even kill adult fishes (Kneese, 1998).

In this experiment, our group will use the death of Carassius auratus and the amount of egg being produced by Carassius auratus—the most consumed fish type in China—as a measurement of the health of aquatic life.  Hypothesis More acidic the living condition (below pH 7) is, there will be fewer eggs being produced and more deaths. Methodology In this experiment, because we are observing the effect of acidic living condition on the health of Carassius auratus that lives in water, we are changing the pH value of water. So, the independent variable is the pH value of water. The dependent variable is the amount of egg produced and the number of deaths of Carassius auratus. To conclude different acidity’s effect on the life of aquatic species, our group need to compare between Carassius auratus in different pH conditions, so controlled variables are needed. The controlled variables in this experiment: the temperature of the water, the time we process the experiment, the size of the Carassius auratus, the amount of Carassius auratus, the amount of food given and the surrounding light intensity, and surrounding voice intensity the experiment is processed. All of those factors may affect the egg production and the death of Carassius auratus. So, it is a fair test.

Materials required in this experiment are six fish bowls; water with pH levels of 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 and 7.0; a thermometer; fish food; pH test paper and a recording camera. The length of the experiment will last for three months in order to fully observe the pattern and draw our conclusion with less error. First, our group will fill the six fishbowls with water with different pH levels: pH 4.0, pH 4.5, pH 5.0, pH 5.5, pH 6.0, and pH 7.0. Secondly, our group will place six Carassius auratus—two males and four females—into each fishbowl. Before putting the fish into the water, our group needs the thermometer to measure the temperature of water in each bowl and to ensure each bowl have the same temperature. Then, we will start our observation for three months. During the observation, our group will be feeding each bowl the same amount of fish food and record the number of death and egg being produced. The type of data we will be collecting is quantitative data that measures the number of death and the amount of eggs being produced. After collocating the data, our group will be organizing the data into graphs bar graphs so that a clear trend will be presented. With that trend, our group will be able to draw conclusions on the effect of acid living condition on aquatic life’s health condition. For safety issue, please make sure do not drink the water in the fishbowls. Also, fishbowls are made with glasses, so make sure do not crush the bowl with anything especially when people are around.

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Effect of Acid Rain On Aquatic Life. (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/effect-of-acid-rain-on-aquatic-life-essay

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