- In Sweden, over 18,000 lakes have become so acidic due to acid rain that all the fish have died. Some success has been achieved by dumping vast quantities of rocks like limestone into the lakes, because these rocks destroy the acid, but for most of the lakes it will be many years after we stop producing acid rain before the water returns to normal.
- In what used to be called West Germany the government discovered that more than 70,000 square kilometers of forests had died because of acid rain. In the old East Germany, the damage was even worse due to factories creating much more pollution. It is not always the country that produces the pollution that suffers from the acid rain. For example, industrial pollution from the United Kingdom is blown across the sea and falls as acid rain over Norway and Sweden.
- Acid rain is not just a European problem; it occurs around the world. In North America thousands of lakes along the eastern coast are so acidic that fish cannot survive any longer, and at least 10 percent of the lakes in the Adirondack region have a pH value of five or less. ( A pH of 7 is neutral, pure water. Lower values are acidic, higher values are alkaline. )
- In the Appalachian Mountains a World Resources Institute report in the late 1980's stated that the acidity of clouds on the mountains was 100 times greater than it would be if it wasn't polluted. In consequence, trees were dying.
With all this damage, why do we still produce so much pollution and continue tolerating acid rain? Well, it's basically because governments don't consider it important enough. They believe that other things are more important, such as making sure that industry continues to grow and that the prices of goods are kept as low as possible. Making factories cleaner costs money, and unless everyone does it, the clean factories wont be able to make goods as cheaply as the dirty ones,and will make less money.
Developed countries also make huge profits from the exploitation and sale of the fuels that produce the pollution. The technology exists to run all our cars and lorries on other 'cleaner' fuels, but the oil companies wouldn't want that to happen, and neither would the governments that tax the oil companies!