Ecosystem effects
What is an ecosystem?
It is a community which consists of living organisms interacting with each other and with their physical environment such as air,soil water.

Fig.1 Fishes killed by pollutants and increase in acidity of water

How does acid rain affects the ecosystem?
The major victim of the acid rain is usually the aquatic animals. As acid rains falls, either directly on to lakes,rivers and oceans. Or indirectly through surface runoff from soil and roadsides. This will lower the pH of aquatic bodies, which have an impact on aquatic life in the long run. Most fish eggs cannot hatch under pH of 5. While most species will not survive below pH of 5. There are some species of aquatic animals and plants that are more acid-tolerant than the others and can survive. Due to the ecosystem being interconnected, the animals or plants it prey on may not be acid tolerant and will die off. Acid rain also leeches aluminium from the soil and deposit into rivers or lakes which can harm the animals. Hence, the more acid rain that is introduced, the more aluminium is released.

Implications on Singapore

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Fig.2 Sculpture affected by corrosion

Buildings and sculptures
Acids have a corrosive effect on limestone or marble buildings or sculptures. It is well established that either wet or dry deposition of sulfur dioxide significantly increases the rate of corrosion on limestone, sandstone, and marble. This causes the buildings to be weak and susceptible to decay. Damage will be done on old heritage buildings. It also peels off paint from buildings overtime.

The sulfuric acid reacts with the limestone in a neutralization reaction.
Limestone: CaCO3 + H2SO4 –> CaSO4 + H2CO3
                 H2CO3 –> CO2 gas + H2O
The calcium sulfate is soluble in water and hence the limestone dissolves and crumbles.

Acid rain also corrodes metals like steel , bronze, copper and iron. These materials are used for some airplanes and most automobiles , buildings and pipes.

Wildlife species

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Fig.3 Forest effects from acid rain

Acid rain can leach nutrients and minerals from soils, depriving the roots of plants and trees from nutrients and minerals ,which is essential for growth of plants and trees. This will damage trees and forests that may be inhabited by wild animals, causing them to lose their niche.

Acid rain can also cause the water bodies in nature reserves to be acidic, this harms the native species living in the Singapore nature reserves. In the long run, it will make the nature reserves unpleasant for visitors and cause a wipe-out of some species.

Food and water

Singapore produce limited food sources itself, most of which are imported from other countries. This brings up the issue of how acid rain that affects other countries, will affect us indirectly. When food sources like fishes,vegetables and water are affected by acid rain in countries that are exporting food to Singapore, the quality of food is greatly affected by contaminants from acid rain. When these foods are being consumed, it may cause health effects on Singaporeans.

References & Photo Credits