Friday, May 20, 2011

Nitrogen pollution facts

Nitrogen pollution comes from the variety of different sources such as farms, vehicles, industry and waste treatment.

Nitrogen pollution is particularly serious issue in coastal areas where it not only harms marine ecosystems but also contributes to global warming (because of the exchange of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide).

Nitrogen is the big contributor to air pollution and can lead to respiratory problems such as asthma and even cancers in people.

Many scientists believe that the widespread use of fertilizers used in the agriculture is mostly to blame for excessive levels of nitrogen pollution in many areas around the world.

The scientists at the Texas University have calculated that agricultural runoff and the burning of fossil fuels have boosted the supply of reactive nitrogen in the open oceans to around 50 percent above the normal range.

More nitrogen in oceans means bigger depletion of oxygen levels in the water which leads to serious damage to marine life.

One of the best solutions on how to reduce the level of nitrogen pollution on global scale would be to control the use of fertilizers (more efficient usage of mineral and organic fertilizers) as well as to reduce the number of cars on the world roads, particularly in developing countries.

According to the 2011 EU study nitrogen pollution costs Europe between 70 and 320 billion euros ($100bn-$460bn) per year. It is estimated that agriculture produces 70% of the nitrous oxide emissions in Europe.

According to the 2011 study published in the Global Change Biology sewage-derived nitrogen has become the main source of nitrogen pollution in the Caribbean.

Nitrogen pollution in coastal areas leads to decreased water transparency, the decline of many fish species, and the emergence of toxic phytoplankton species.

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