Sunrise on a Clear Day

I have a salt water swimming pool.  It’s nearly maintenance-free but the pH level must be kept within a limited range or the conversion of salt to chlorine gas doesn’t occur efficiently.  I have to constantly add pH increaser to the water.

Northern New Hampshire sunrises and sunsets are amazingly brilliant.  It is impossible to drive into the morning or evening sun without shades.  Western New York’s reddish dawns and dusks, although pretty in their own right, are very different than what is seen just a few hundred miles east.

These otherwise unrelated paragraphs are linked by air pollution.

Sulfur dioxide generated by Midwest power plants falls throughout New York State as acid rain.  Over 500 Adirondack lakes are already too acidic to sustain life, and are unnaturally crystal clear.  You can taste the bite in rain drops.  Western New York’s acid rain has a pH of 4.4, about the same as tomato juice and over a hundred times more acidic than my pool water is supposed to be.  And the sulfur haze – essentially smog – adds a reddish hue to our sunsets.

It is not at all obvious that we live our lives in such a polluted environment until we have traveled far enough to get out from under it.  We are surprisingly polluted.

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