ACID RAIN by Robert H. & R. Alexander Boyle Boyle


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A chemical leprosy is eating into the face of North America and Europe."" ""Man's activities have made the sky a sewer."" ""Pollutants are all over the place."" ""It's a vicious web."" These incoherent opening remarks set the tone for this undiscriminating consciousness-raiser. Sports Illustrated staffer Robert (The Hudson River, 1969) and son Alexander, working to no discernible plan, offer a wide but undigested selection of quotes from researchers and documents; nowhere do they attempt a clear, balanced statement of the issues. What emerges from the hubbub seems to be this: because sulfur and nitrogen oxides are discharged into the atmosphere by power plants and heavy industry, precipitation is more acidic than it would otherwise be; the effects of the acid rain are particularly marked in uplands and regions with hard, acidic bedrock (e.g., much of New England and Canada); the resulting acidified groundwater kills susceptible wildlife (especially fish) and, more seriously, mobilizes common toxic metals (aluminum, cadmium, etc.) which affect vegetation and quickly enter the food chain; the field's too few researchers have to contend with the usual flood of disinformation from the (circumstantially) guilty polluters; and the parochially-minded Reagan administration is studiously ignoring the problem. So wroth do the authors wax that they ""frankly wonder why there is all the fuss about nuclear weapons."" The subject could stand an intelligent airing, but this offers little that's coherent or persuasive.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: Schocken