How Does Acid Rain Affect The Flora of Our Environment?

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Author: Joseph M.




The purpose of this scientific study is to investigate the physiological effects of acid rain on plants in our environment.  

The experimental procedure consists of the following steps. Make two solutions daily.   The first solution consists of rainwater, and the second solution consists of the combination of vinegar and rainwater, which has a pH of 3.0. Hydrate all plants in the experimental and control group with the appropriate solution. Observe, record results, and take pictures of the plants daily.   Perform multiple experimental trials.

In conclusion, the experimental results showed that my hypothesis is correct. The acid rain plants exhibited a dramatic physiological change because of the acidity of the water. When the pH of water decreases, the acidity increases. The daily watering of the plants with a low pH resulted in the leaching of vital nutrients from the soil. Therefore, the acid rain plants withered, shriveled, and nearly died. The control group, the rainwater plants, maintained a healthy and vibrant physiological appearance.   

Earth Science
Difficulty of the Project
Safety Issues

There were no safety issues for consideration.

Time Taken to Complete the Project

100 hours


The purpose of the project is to investigate the physiological effects of acid rain on plants in our environment. The goal of the project is to discover the effects of acid rain on our environment.

Materials and Equipment

  1. Digital Camera
  2. Room Thermometer
  3. Measuring Cup
  4. Teaspoon
  5. Rainwater
  6. White Vinegar
  7. Forty-eight Small Pansy Plants (Viola x wittrockiana),
  8. pH Strips
  9. Stirring Rod
  10. Safety Goggles
  11. Gloves
  12. Sturdy Table
  13. Lab Notebook
  14. Pencils
  15.  Lab Coat
  16. Two Five Hundred Milliliter Glass Beakers

The materials were found at a greenhouse or plant nursery and the grocery store. The materials were readily found.


Acid rain affects the flora and fauna in our environment. The Almanac of Policy Issues states that “Acid rain” is caused by nitrogen and sulfur oxides that are released into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. These pollutants combine with oxygen and water vapor in the air to form dilute solutions of nitric and sulfuric acids. These acids can kill living organisms within our environment. The formation of acid rain is directly correlated to human activities. The emission of toxic pollutants stems from industrialized nations where industry, transportation, power generation and ore smelting contribute to the production of acidified rain (“What is Acid”, 2002).

In 1872, the English scientist Robert Angus Smith observed the effects of acidic precipitation on trees and plants of his geographical region. He was given credit for coining the term acid rain (“A Brief History”, 2010, p. 1). Although it was not a major concern to the world leaders of the time, acid rain was of some interest to the scientific community. Acid rain has the physical appearance of typical rain water. It looks, tastes, and feels like regular precipitation (“Effects Acid Humans”, 2009).    In 1974, researcher Gene Likens wrote a scientific report on the rain showers of New Hampshire. He stated, “You sing in the rain, you wash your hair in it, you walk in the rain, then you see the rain, and there is something wrong with it” (Omes, 2009, p. 1). Nearly a century later, this single report gained the attention of the scientific community of the seriousness of the effects acid rain has on the environment. Liken’s research was the foundation for the Clean Air Act of the United States of America (Omes, 2009).

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