Now Reading
What happened to acid rains? How the environmental movement won — and could again

What happened to acid rains? How the environmental movement won — and could again

Depleted ecosystems, dwindling forest, contaminated drinking waters, and toxic soil. All thanks to John Roberts, Canada’s Environment Minister. So called1980 was “the most serious threat to the environment of the North American continent.”

What is the cause? Acid rain. However, if you flash forward to today, the amount of sulfuric or nitric acids precipitated across the continent has decreased dramatically due to a reduction in their emission. According to the most recent statistics, carbon monoxide levels in the air have decreased by 74%, nitrogen dioxide has decreased by 57%, and the level of sulfur dioxide has dropped by 89% since 1990. DataThe Environmental Protection Agency. 

How then did scientists and policymakers make it work? classifiedOfficials have referred to it as a “serious” environmental problem with “transboundary implications”. How can this be transformed into a story of success in modern-day climate fighting? 

A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest tested pH levels of rain samples taken in New Hampshire in 1963. The forest’s 7,800-acres had a pH between 4.0 and 4.2. This is similar to normal rain which has an pH of 5.2. Hubbard Brook.

“We knew it wasn’t normal and we didn’t know why,” Dr. Gene Likens of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study said about his discovery to CBS News. “We didn’t know the origin of it, nor how long it had been there. It was a complex puzzle. It took a long time for me to understand and answer the questions. 

He established precipitation collection stations around the Finger Lakes in New York state, which revealed similar acidic results — suggesting the phenomenon wasn’t limited to New Hampshire. 

He said, “That was really our first clue that this might not be something that is just unusual or particular to Hubbard Brook.”

Likens and colleagues published their findings after analyzing samples from all over the globe and assessing historical precipitation data from the eastern United States. 

The researchers attributed the growth of acid rain — now Defined by the EPA as any form of precipitation containing acidic components — to emissions from power plants and heavy industry precipitating into bodies of water, and said it was likely to have increased around the mid-1950s. They asked for proposals to develop new energy sources as well as standards for air quality emissions.

Likens stated that his initial findings were questioned by “strong financial vested interest” in the industries responsible for some of the emission, such as petroleum.

“I recall giving lectures at universities. Often, people would stand up and say something like “Acid rain”. He stated that he didn’t believe acid rain exists. “It was highly controversial that was being challenged by the industry.”

However, acid rain has severe environmental repercussions. Capitol Hill debated the topic throughout the 1970s and 1980s. 

Likens led a team of scientists to the White House to inform Ronald Reagan about acid rain in 1983. The Clean Air Act was amended in 1990 by George W. Bush. These amendments were intended to reduce air pollution and prevent acid rain.

Likens stated that he was “very shocked” to see the amendments passed. 

The ecologist claimed that it took 27 year for them to take a specific action. It shouldn’t take so long. This is unacceptable, but it’s the way it is. 

Scientists still had to verify the effectiveness of these new measures. 

Over the next 25 year, National Atmospheric Deposition Program researchers collected rainfall samples from more 250 stations across the country. The program claimed that this was the longest-lasting and most extensive precipitation pollution. StudyIn the United States. Over that period, acidic precipitation had decreased in both frequency as well as concentration. Researchers largely credited the 1990 Clean Air Act amends. 

David Gay, a climatologist, and NADP coordinator behind this study, stated that “we have certainly cleaned up quite a bit of the problem here in America and I can’t see us burning a lot coal without any control anytime soon.” “We can prove that money was not wasted and that we invested in the right areas. We got the answer that we were looking for.” 

However, Likens warns against the possibility of acid precipitation in North America. Acid precipitation is still a problem in some countries in Asia, such as China. According to StatistaIn 2020, acid rain was experienced in approximately 34% of the cities in China. 

He said, “We still have more acidity than we should have in rain.” It’s still not normal.” 

He encouraged the next generation climate activists and scientists to continue searching for solutions to the world’s climate crisis. He said, “You must be patient and persevere and not lose heart.” 

See Also
A pit in a paddock behind the Bamganie pet cremation service where horses and other animals are buried

Dr. Michael Rennie, a Lakehead University freshwater ecology professor in Canada, said that acid rain across Europe is a lesson in how to address other environmental problems. 

He stated that legislation can make an impact on the environment in the ways you want. “It took over 20 years, but now we are starting to see biological restoration in many of these systems. We are beginning to see chemical recovery. It’ll happen.”

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.