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Experiment on the Impact of Acid Rain on Plants

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1675 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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     Acid rain is a major problem in the environment but hasn’t always been. As more and more fossil fuels are being burned, the amount of acid rain has increased. Acid rain will negatively affect plants, animals, and even humans. Two groups of plants were given a one week period to grow and react to the different types of rainwater. One group was given acid rainwater with a pH of 2.99 and the other group was given natural rainwater with a pH of 5.38. The plants were watered every other day and the reactions of the plants were recorded. The group of plants given the natural rainwater had a positive effect to the water compared to the other group. The control group of plants was overall more healthy than the group of plants given acid rainwater.

Acid Rain Report

 Acid rain is the effect of the atmosphere exposed to pollution which resulted in acid forming the atmosphere. Acid rain has many effect that may not be visible to the eye and happen in an instant. The effects may not be noticed automatically, but the effects of the plants, animals, and humans are still there. Acid rain can harm plants, animals, structures, and even humans. Acid rain can ruin the environment, harm humans, ruin materials, but can be prevent. Rain is composed of a natural amount of acid but with pollution cause by human, it is transformed into a harmful compound.

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 Acid rain or acid deposition can include rain, snow, fog, hail, or even dust. Acid rain is resulted when sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen (nitrogen oxide) are released into the atmosphere and transported place to place by wind or air currents. Whenever the sulfur and nitrogen are reacting with water, oxygen, and other chemicals, that now harmless compound will become an acidic one. Most of the sulfur and nitrogen released are caused by the burning of fossil fuels, although there is a small portion caused by natural sources, such as volcanoes. Major sources of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen in the atmosphere are from the burning of fossil fuels to generating electricity, vehicles and heavy equipment, and manufacturing refineries and other industries.

 Acid rain can cause many harmful impacts but nothing is greater than the effect on lakes, streams, wetlands, and other aquatic environment. When the acid rain is deposited, the soil and such will absorb the chemicals and make its way into the lakes and streams with the soil and lakes. When the aquatic environment is full of higher levels of chemicals, the plants and animals will start experiencing harmful effects.

 The trees and other plants that once used the soil full of nutrients, is now contaminated with higher concentrations of chemicals. The acid rain removes minerals and nutrients from the soil, that is needed by the plants to survive and be healthy. Another from of acid rain among plants is through fog. At high elevations acidic fog and clouds can also strip nutrients from the trees’ leaves, causing them to turn brown, shrivel up and die. The tree is then unable to get proper sunlight, which makes the plant weaker and more unable to withstand freezing temperatures. Acid rain can also affect humans. People with asthma are more likely to be affected negatively when breathing the air outside after recent acid deposition.

Acid rain will has severe effects towards the environment, including plants and animals and humans. It can ruin the environment including the plants and animals. Acid rain kills plants quicker, which then affects everything that relies on the plants to survive. Acid rain will also affect humans are have asthma or a heart condition.


The materials required for the experiment are:

●       6 plants of the same species

●       Camera

●       Measuring cup

●       Vinegar

●       pH meter

●       Stirring rod

●       Table

●       Pencil

●       Notebook

●       12 cups of rainwater

●       2 large containers


  1. Get the 6 plants and spilt the plants into two groups of three. One group is called the control and the other is called the experimental.
  2. Spilt the 12 cups of rainwater in half, and put both halves in two separate containers
  3. Leave the first half of water as is and grab the vinegar and pH meter to make the acid water. Add the vinegar and stir until the pH level reaches 3.
  4. Place both groups of plants in the same spot with sunlight hitting the plants.
  5. For the next 7 days, water all 6 of plants individually but keeping the plants with the group.
  6. The plants in the control group will each receive ½ a cup of natural rain water every other day. By the end of the week, the container with 6 cups of natural rainwater should be empty.
  7. The experimental group will receive the same treatment but with acid rainwater. Like the control group, the 6 cups of acid rainwater should be empty but the end of the 7 days.
  8. Throughout the week, record the reactions of the plants in a journal to compare the effects the plants had at the end of the week.


 The results of this experiment showed that flowers given acid rainwater will die quicker.  Both plants receive the same amount of water but different pH levels. By the fourth day the experimental group lost five flowers while the control group gained three flowers. The control group sprouted two new pedals on the third day and sprouted one more on the fourth day. The experimental groups lost pedals daily and didn’t sprout a new pedal until the sixth day. By the last day of the experiment the experimental group lost 13 pedals while the group given regular rainwater lost 11 flowers. Even though there isn’t a dramatic difference between the amount of pedals lost, the group receiving the acid rainwater lost pedals at a much faster rate.


 The hypothesis supports what occurs in the experiment. By the end of the experiment the control group had lost 9 petals and the experimental group lost 13 petals. The amount of flowers lost between the two groups isn’t a big difference, the rate at which the plants lost petals is what was affected. By the fourth day, the experimental group five petals and the control group gained three petals. The control group started losing petals between the fifth and seventh day. On the fifth day the control group had 27 but by the sixth day the flowers only had 23 petals. By the last day, the flowers given rainwater had 16 petals. A possible place of error could’ve been when giving the flowers the designated water. To improve the experiment multiple trails can be held with different types as well. All plants have different acid reactions, so to experiment with  different species of plants can show the multiple effects acid rain can cause.


 Of the plants reactions observed, the experimental group seemed to react negatively to the acid rain. The experimental group’s petals withered at a faster rate than the control group’s petals. The hypothesis was correct because it stated that the group given acid water will die quicker. The control group lost nine flowers in the week span and the experimental group lost 13 petals. Even after a week of the experiment being completed and not being cared for, the control group is still healthier. The control group has six flowers and three about to sprout while the experimental group has four petals and two about to sprout. An error could’ve occur when giving the flowers the water. One plant could’ve received more or less than ½ a cup of water, affecting the reaction of the flower. To ensure the results collected are correct, multiple trials will have to be performed. To improve this experiment, multiple types of plants can be used. All plants can had handle different pH levels and will have different reactions.

Work Cited

●       “Acid Rain.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 7 Mar. 2017, www.epa.gov/acidrain.

●       Images, David Woodfall/Getty.”Acid Rain.” A Guide to Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park, 19 Oct. 2017, wwwnationalgraphic.com/environment/global-warming/acid-rain/.

●       “Effects of Acid Rain.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 1 June 2017, www.epa.gov/acidrain/effects-acid-rain.

●       Echolls, Taylor.”What Place in the World Receives the Most Acid Rain?” Sciening, 30 Apr. 2018, sciencing.com/place-world-recieves-and-acid-rain-23289.html

●       Brach, Anthony Robert. “What is a Flora?,” flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/mss/what_is.htm.

●       “What is pH.” Academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu, academic, brookyln.cuny.edu/biology/bio4fv/page/ph_def.htm


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