What is acid rain and what effect does it have on the air we breathe?

Acid rain is a broad term describing precipitation that contains acidic chemical compounds. These compounds are formed by the emission of mainly sulfur and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. They react with water in the air to form acids. A small part of acidic precipitation is of natural origin, being volcanoes, for example. The majority, however, is man-made – two-thirds of sulfur dioxide and a quarter of nitrogen oxides are generated by power plants, the rest by internal combustion engines, refineries and other industries.

Just rain?

Acid precipitation is not just rain. Harmful compounds fall to the ground along with any other form of precipitation, such as snow. Even fog or morning dew can be acidic. In addition, even in the absence of precipitation, gas particles also fall “dry,” settling on the ground, plants and facades, as well as falling into bodies of water.

Acid rain fell and so what?

Naturally, acid rain does not have a concentration strong enough to cause direct harm to the person on whom it falls, although it can cause skin irritation. The biggest impact is on the environment. In Poland, the easiest way to see the effects is to go to the Sudetes. From large tracts of forest, all that’s left in some places are bare, shriveled trunks, as if some giant had strung matchsticks into the hills. Acidified soil does not allow for proper uptake of nutrients from it, which causes problems with plant growth and weakens their resistance to diseases and pests.

…and the conservationist quietly sobs

It is not at all necessary to go out of town to observe the effects of acid precipitation. It is enough to look at monuments, especially those made of sandstone, to see that air pollution leads to increased corrosion. Of course, it’s not only old churches and monuments that are at risk, prolonged exposure to an acidic environment also damages metal or concrete structures.

Impact on my health

In addition to its negative impact on the environment, acid precipitation and its accompanying air pollution harm human health. Inhalation of these compounds causes irritation, inflammation and damage to delicate lung tissue. In the long term, this puts you at risk of asthma, bronchitis or at least emphysema.

How do you protect yourself from breathing in the air?

Not breathing may seem a rather breakneck task. Wearing a gas mask on your face, also seems a suboptimal solution, to say the least. While it is impossible to escape from the outside air, at home or at work we can have control over it. The Espirio monitoring system, despite its compact design, houses several advanced and high-precision sensors, measuring levels of PM2.5 and PM10 or volatile organic compounds, among other things.

Espirio’s advantage over other sensors is the integration of outdoor environmental monitoring systems. There are days when it is not worth opening the windows at all, due to the quality of the air outside. The device will inform you of this in a simple and clear way. Archived measurements are also available for review, allowing a more accurate analysis of environmental conditions, making it easier to take care of your health as well as that of your loved ones.