Study reveals cost of nitrogen pollution

Apr 11, 2011
A farmer drives a tractor near Feldkirchen in southern Germany. Nitrogen pollution costs Europe between 70 and 320 billion euros ($100bn-$460bn) per year in its impact on health and the environment, according to a major European study launched in Britain on Monday.

Nitrogen pollution costs Europe between 70 and 320 billion euros ($100bn-$460bn) per year in its impact on health and the environment, according to a major European study launched in Britain on Monday.

The first European Nitrogen Assessment, the result of a five-year research programme, found that the costs represented more than double the benefits for the continent's agriculture sector.

The ENA was to be launched Monday at a five-day international conference in Edinburgh.

The study was carried out by 200 experts from 21 countries and 89 organisations, who came up with recommendations on how to reduce the amount of nitrogen in water, the air, the earth and ecosystems.

The invention of synthethic fertiliser in the early 20th century revolutionised agriculture, multiplying yields and improving quality.

However, the amount of nitrogen in the environment has doubled on the world level, and tripled in Europe.

ENA coordinator Mark Sutton said: "More than half the world's population relies on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser for food production, but measures are necessary to reduce the impact of nitrogen pollution.

"The solutions include more efficient usage of mineral and organic fertiliser (manure, liquid manure and ) and aimed at more moderate .

"We have the know-how to reduce , but we must start applying these solutions at the European level in an integrated way."

The event in the Scottish capital will bring together scientists and policy makers to launch the ENA and discuss the latest scientific progress on nitrogen.

Explore further: Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Put more nitrogen into milk, not manure

May 28, 2010

The more efficient dairy farmers are in managing nitrogen, the more milk their cows will produce and the less nitrogen will be wasted in manure and urine, according a study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists ...

Improve crop yield by removing manure solids

Mar 29, 2011

Manure has long been used as a crop fertilizer, but the challenge of finding an efficient use of the nutrients found in manure is ever present. The ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus in manure is low in relation to the nutrient ...

British air pollution: still unacceptable

Apr 06, 2006

A British study issued Wednesday says air pollution from cars, factories and homes shortens the lives of everyone in Britain by approximately eight months.

Nitrogen -- the silent species eliminator

Oct 12, 2007

Nitrogen pollution from agriculture and fossil fuels is known to be seriously damaging grasslands in the UK. A new European study is starting to show that the effect is Europe-wide, confirming that current policies to protect ...

Recycled garden compost reduces phosphorus in soils

Jun 01, 2007

Broccoli, eggplant, cabbage and capsicum grown with compost made from recycled garden offcuts have produced equivalent yields to those cultivated by conventional farm practice, but without the subsequent build up of phosphorus.

Recommended for you

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

13 hours ago

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Dec 19, 2014

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

Compromises lead to climate change deal

Dec 19, 2014

Earlier this month, delegates from the various states that make up the UN met in Lima, Peru, to agree on a framework for the Climate Change Conference that is scheduled to take place in Paris next year. For ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Moebius
1 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2011
More proof we are overpopulated and living at unsustainable levels. Also that economists are morons and should not be listened to. We need to limit our population to a few billion which is another reason why religion is one of the greatest evils ever invented. Unlimited reproduction is the basis for most religions, all euphemisms for suicide. Which is against religion, ironic.
Doug_Huffman
3 / 5 (2) Apr 11, 2011
to reduce the amount of nitrogen in water, the air, the earth and ecosystems.
78% of the atmosphere is nitrogen. 99.9% of administrivium is ignorance desperately seeking significance.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.