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Nitrogen Pollution Is A Big Issue, Says United Nations Environment

According to a recent UN environment report, Nitrogen is essential for life but excess nitrogen pollution has tremendous consequences on humans as well as the environment


Nairobi: Nitrogen pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues faced by humans today and requires urgent action from nations around the world, the UN Environment agency said on Monday. Its Frontiers report, launched ahead of the UN Environment high-level assembly beginning on March 11, explores environmental issues that will have profound effects on society, economy and ecosystems, along with some novel solutions.

By scanning the technological and environmental horizons, the report identifies five major topics — synthetic biology, ecological connectivity, permafrost peatlands, nitrogen pollution and maladaptation to climate change.

Nitrogen is essential for life but excess nitrogen pollution has tremendous consequences on humans and the environment, the report said. In the form of nitrous oxide, for example, it is 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, in addition to the effects of various nitrogen compounds on air quality and the ozone layer. The report warns,

Altogether, humans are producing a cocktail of reactive nitrogen that threatens health, climate, and ecosystems, making nitrogen one of the most important pollution issues facing humanity. Yet the scale of the problem remains largely unknown and unacknowledged outside scientific circles.

Also Read: India Projected To Be On Track To Achieve Its Paris Climate Change Agreement Target: US Expert

Validating the report Mark Sutton from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), UK and director of International Nitrogen Management System (INMS), a UN-backed global coalition of scientists and institutions fighting nitrogen pollution stated,

Much of India’s air pollution is linked to ammonia from agriculture and nitrogen oxides from combustion sources.

Chemical fertilisers account for over 77% of agricultural nitrogen oxide emissions in India and cattle contribute to 80% of the country’s ammonia production, says Nandula Raghuram, Dean of Biotechnology at Indraprastha University in New Delhi and President of Indian Nitrogen Group (ING), a voluntary body of over a hundred scientists and stakeholders.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollutionclean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.

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