Ever since the 1972 Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, the international community has made significant progress in understanding the causes and consequences of acid rain. While the world is slowly coming to understand the seriousness of the problem, we continue to pour ever-more sulfur and nitrogen contaminants into the earth's atmosphere. The purpose of this research is to examine the nature and extent of the acid rain problem and to discuss proposed solutions to the problem.
It is imperative that the gap between knowledge and action be closed quickly - otherwise much will be lost. Several important studies funded by the German Marshall Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, The European Economic Community, and other national and international agencies have helped define the issue of acid rain, measure its effects, and document potential responses to the problem. Yet, the political aspect of devising an acceptable, as well as functional, program to abate this pollution has been all but neglected. The ramifications of this oversight plague the world today.
Acid rain has emerged in the past few decades from a regional problem to a global problem covering vast amounts of the earth's surface. Scientists have used the term "acid precipitation" because of the occurrence of "wet" deposits of acid snow, sleet, hail, mist, fog, frost, and dew, as well as rain. Now, because of the role of "dry" deposits of acid particles, aerosols and gases in the damaging effects of acid rain, the term "acid deposition" is coming into widespread use.
It is now generally recognized that acid deposition is formed through the transformation of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Motor vehicle exhaust and combustion from fossil fuel-fired power plants and industries are the producers of large quantities of oxides of nitrogen and sulfur and by-products such as ash. Most of these pollutants are ...