Acid rain makes gardening more difficult. But in general, acid rain pollutes the earth and renders the earth unsuitable for habitation. For land to be habitable to animal and vegetation its ratio of minerals and acid producing particles must be balanced. When the rain contains too much acid, it prohibits this balance of nature and creates problems with food for human and animal consumption. The knowledge of this, and probably the introduction of it only began since the industrial revolution. Until then, the acid was in such minute qualities it was easily absorbed into the natural world all around. A few of the dangers of acid rain is that it can cause your crops to fail, can cause your automobile to rust and it can peel your outside house paint. These are light and not too alarming.
Acid rain kills forests and causes the fish in lakes and streams to die. How does this come about? Acid rain is caused by the acid release from the burning of fossil fuels. Yes, even the smoke produced when coal is burned in a fireplace is just as sulfuric and nitrous oxide polluted since it’s the same process of larger furnaces but it’s to the degree that makes a difference. When plants and manufacturing smoke stacks sends acidic chemicals into the air, they combine with the rain and eventually lands on soil. This acidifies the soil to a degree that the trees and vegetation that need less acid in the soil to grow. The water eventually leeches into the lakes and other waterways this is detrimental to the health of the fish.
What chemicals are the worst offenders? Mostly it is emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. When these mix with oxygen and water and other oxidants they can form any number of acid compounds; eventually these acid compounds get grounded, in either wet or in dry form.
Vegetation most vulnerable are trees that are growing in higher places. The reason behind that is that the sky itself is no covering; these trees, in essence, are the first to get contaminated with the acid deposits. The mist that is mixed with the acid droppings land on the leaves and even though there is no rain, there is enough moisture to activate the chemicals. This describes why tree top damage is more widespread on mountain tops and other high places.
To a certain extent, the lower trees are protected for extensive damage by those higher. The trees in the mountains of North Carolina are one example of mountain top damage to trees from acid rain. To find evidence of fished dying from lakes polluted, look into what has happened in the Adirondacks. These two are examples of what is happening all around the world when the rain becomes too acidic. The biggest polluters are the electric power plants who put around 70% of acid into the atmosphere; other means are automobiles, trucks and domestic use of fossil fuels for heating homes.
Human health as well as animal and vegetative health is compromised when calcium is depleted by over-acidification. They are less resistant to other disease processes. All life share this common bond of growth and health: when the nutrients are supplied in sufficient amounts then healthy specimens are to be seen; when something like an over-abundance of acid based chemicals upset the balance the ph then a weakening occurs and resistance to disease is the consequence.
Therefore the danger of acid rain is for all living matter. Years ago we were warned that our rain was becoming too acid. What were we to do? Most of us did not burn fossil fuels and how were we to blame? No we were not, but we did partake of the electricity that was produced by coal fired smokestacks that are a necessity part of this conversion. Now we are in an advanced phase of this concern, the effects of too much carbon dioxide and not enough viable vegetation to utilize is being shouted from the housetops every day.