There is a wide range of environmental issues to be concerned with. One of the most little understood is acid rain. This article is going to explain what acid rain is and how it is formed. It is also going to explain how to reduce acid rain yourself in five simple steps.
Identifying Acid Rain and Its Causes
The first step to understanding how to reduce acid rain is to learn what it is and its primary causes. Acid rain occurs when the natural PH balance of rain has been changed further towards the acidic side. PH naturally runs from zero to 14 with zero being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. A PH reading of seven is considered to be neutral on the PH scale. Acid rain is actually a type of acid deposition. Its deposition occurs in wet forms like rain as well as dry forms like dust storms.
Acid rain is predominantly caused by a variety of human activities. Two of the most common chemicals that are responsible for acid rain include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Both of these chemicals are steadily released as mankind continues to burn fossil fuels. The two largest contributors of these chemicals are coal power plants and exhaust from motor vehicles.
Real World Impacts of Acid Rain
Another key part of learning how to reduce acid rain is to understand its real-world impacts. One of its most harmful qualities is that it negatively impacts conditions like asthma and bronchitis. It can also increase the likelihood of children developing these conditions. In terms of the environment, acid rain is also incredibly harmful to plants. Acid rain strips vital nutrients from the soil like magnesium and calcium. It also causes aluminum to be released into the soil which hampers the ability of trees to absorb water effectively. Over time, this can cause large patches of forests to die out.
Acid rain also has a huge negative impact on aquatic life as well. The aluminum that is released in soil eventually finds its way to lakes and streams. Over time, this increase in acidity and aluminum levels can quickly kill off a variety of important wildlife like phytoplankton, frogs, crayfish, and bass. As the condition worsens, the impacts are felt further up the food chain and can lead to large amounts of animal deaths.
Acid rain is also particularly harmful to physical structures as well. Over time, it can cause paint to peel and erode stone monuments. This has a direct impact on cultural sites and can be quite costly to repair.
How To Reduce Acid Rain In Five Steps
Appliances Are The First Step
Your appliances are a great place to start for those of you wanting to learn how to reduce acid rain. Appliances are one of the most expensive items in your house to operate in terms of energy consumption. Primary examples include washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and air conditioners.
If you are buying new appliances, always look for items marked with the Energy Star logo. These items have undergone a special approval process that signifies that they help conserve energy without sacrificing performance.
Even with your existing appliances, you can help reduce acid rain with proper usage. Dryers are one of the most expensive items to operate and should be avoided whenever possible. Consider hanging your clothes out to air dry if weather permits in your area. For things like washer machines, remember to always do a full load instead of several smaller loads.
Lighting Plays An Important Role
If you’re serious about learning how to reduce acid rain, you have to remember that lighting plays a crucial role. As you replace bulbs throughout your home, shop for energy conserving options at your local store. The two most important numbers to pay attention to on bulb packaging are the watts and lumens.
The watts is a measure of how much energy the bulb uses. The lower the number, the higher the energy efficiency of the bulb. With lumens, it is a measurement of how bright the light is. Larger numbers denote brighter light output. Traditional bulbs typically have a 1,600-lumen output. Remember to keep your lights off whenever possible to help reduce your total energy usage.
Swap Out Your Gas Appliances
For those of you who maintain your own yard, you likely own a variety of tools. Some common examples include lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, edgers, and chainsaws. The majority of these tools are likely gasoline powered and require copious amounts of oil to keep them in proper running order.
Consider changing these appliances out for electric varieties whenever possible. This can substantially reduce your carbon footprint and reduces the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides you will release into the atmosphere.
Insulate Your Home
Proper insulation is key to reducing your overall energy consumption. Some prime examples of insulation ideas include caulking around windows, weatherstripping doors, and replacing insulation panels in areas like crawl spaces and attics.
Insulation paneling comes in a wide variety of different types with blanket batts and rolls being one of the most inexpensive solutions available. Before changing insulation panels, always make sure you have the proper safety equipment like goggles and gloves. These types of materials are often made from recycled glass and metal that can cause irritation.
The Impact of Motor Vehicle Use
The largest contributor of acid rain is likely sitting in your driveway. Cars regularly release a variety of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that has a direct impact on things like acid rain. One of the best options is to switch out for a hybrid or electric vehicle. These cars have a much lighter impact on the environment and are becoming increasingly affordable as the technology advances.