The elimination of acid rain by the U.S and Europe (but not China, cough*) is one of very few environmental success stories in world we are still polluting much faster than we can clean it up.
In the ’70s and ’80s forests were dying, lakes became barren, and those living in affected areas suffered respiratory problems. A concerted effort** to lower sulphur and nitrogen emissions – despite the usual environmental denials and refusal to accept blame (sound familiar?) – reversed the catastrophe, and nature is – miraculously – healing itself of the damage.
Back in the early 1900s though, there were no such concerns, and pretty much anything could be dumped into the air, water, or soil in pursuit of profit. Acid included.
This beautifully constructed Epoche 1 ‘Säuretopfwagen’ (acid wagon) and Bayerische PtL 2/2 shunter comes from previous bloggee Pieter Post, who was inspired to recreate some commonplace turn-of-the-century environmental vandalism by the news that a Dutch chemical company has been granted a license to annually discharge up to 14,000kg of micro-plastics into one river.
And thus over a century later, even with the success of halting acid rain (except in China), nothing has really changed at all.
*Seriously, cough cough. China’s acid rain has actually worsened in the most recent data.