Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Recovery From Acid Rain 'Much Slower Than Expected'

Date:
September 28, 2007
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
Studies in Scotland and Wales show that streams still have high levels of acidity from pollution in the 1970s and 1980s, despite efforts to clean them. In Wales, more than 12,000 km of streams and rivers have been acidified, harming fish, stream insects and river birds such as the dipper.

Acid rain was one of the world's worst pollution problems of the 1970s and 1980s, affecting large areas of upland Britain, as well as Europe and North America.

In Wales, more than 12,000 km of streams and rivers have been acidified, harming fish, stream insects and river birds such as the dipper.

Over the last 20 years, action has been taken across Europe to clean up acid pollutants from power generation and industry, which was widely expected to bring recovery. However, new research led by Cardiff University's School of Biosciences shows that the expected improvements in rivers are far short of expectations.

Recent studies in Galloway, the Scottish Highlands and Wales reveal that many streams are still highly acidified. Biological recovery has been particularly poor.

Key findings from the projects, carried out by combined teams from Cardiff University, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and National Museum Wales, include:

  • Acidity in Welsh headwaters is declining, but only slowly
  • More than two thirds of all streams sampled were acid enough during high flow to cause biological damage, with metals at toxic concentrations
  • Sulphur pollution from man-made sources is still an important cause of acid episodes, particularly in Wales
  • Sensitive insects survive conditions in the most acid streams for only a few days
  • Headwater acidification is still a significant problem for important salmon fisheries, and Special Areas of Conservation such as the Welsh River Wye.

Professor Steve Ormerod of the School of Biosciences, a leading researcher into the biological effects of acid rain for more than 20 years, said: "Organisms and ecosystems are the best indicators of recovery from pollution, so these results will alarm anyone interested in the well-being of our rivers. We need to understand the factors responsible for such delayed recovery, particularly since climate change is likely to make the acidification problem even worse."

Dr Chris Evans, an acid-rain specialist from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Bangor, added "Pollution reductions are slowly improving in upland waters, but there is a long way to go. The large biological effects of acid episodes shown by this work mean that it is vital to continue monitoring these ecosystems if we are to protect them in future."

The research contrasts with other recent studies which showed some encouraging early signs and will come as disappointing news to those who thought the acid rain problem was solved.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "Recovery From Acid Rain 'Much Slower Than Expected'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928101154.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2007, September 28). Recovery From Acid Rain 'Much Slower Than Expected'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928101154.htm
Cardiff University. "Recovery From Acid Rain 'Much Slower Than Expected'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928101154.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) — A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins