Navigation Links
Excessive nitrogen harms the economy and environment -- first Europe-wide assessment published
Date:4/11/2011

A major new study finds that nitrogen pollution is costing each person in Europe around 130 - 650 (150 740 Euros) a year. The first European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA) is launched at a conference today in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The study, carried out by 200 experts from 21 countries and 89 organizations, estimates that the annual cost of damage caused by nitrogen across Europe is 60 - 280 billion (70 -320 billion), more than double the extra income gained from using nitrogen fertilizers in European agriculture.

Professor Bob Watson Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair (Defra) welcomes the report. He said, "The assessment emphasizes how nitrogen links the different environmental issues that we have come to know so well: climate, biodiversity, air, water, and soil pollution. It develops the vision for a more holistic approach, which is vital if we are to make progress in tackling these issues."

The ENA is the first time that the multiple threats of nitrogen pollution, including contributions to climate change and biodiversity loss, have been valued in economic terms at a continental scale. As well as identifying key threats the assessment also identifies the geographical areas at greatest risk of damage by nitrogen pollution. The report provides EU policymakers with a comprehensive scientific assessment on the consequences of failing to address the problem of nitrogen pollution and outlines key actions that can be taken to reduce the problem to protect environmental and public health.

Key messages from the assessment include:

  • At least ten million people in Europe are potentially exposed to drinking water with nitrate concentrations above recommended levels.
  • Nitrates cause toxic algal blooms and dead zones in the sea, especially in the North, Adriatic and Baltic seas and along the coast of Brittany.
  • Nitrogen-based air pollution from agriculture, industry and traffic in urban areas contributes to particulate matter air pollution, which is reducing life expectancy by several months across much of central Europe.
  • In the forests atmospheric nitrogen deposition has caused at least 10% loss of plant diversity over two-thirds of Europe.

The lead editor of the ENA, Dr Mark Sutton from the UK's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, "Nearly half the world's population depends on synthetic, nitrogen-based fertilizer for food but measures are needed to reduce the impacts of nitrogen pollution. Solutions include more efficient use of fertilizers and manures, and people choosing to eat less meat. We have the know-how to reduce nitrogen pollution, but what we need now is to apply these solutions throughout Europe in an integrated way."

To accompany the ENA launch a commentary by Dr Sutton is published online in Nature today outlining why curbing nitrogen emissions is a central environmental challenge for the twenty-first century.

Dr Hans van Grinsven, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and lead author of the ENA cost-benefit analysis on nitrogen in the environment, said, "The present environmental costs of nitrogen for Europe are very high. Our analysis shows that the financial benefits resulting from abatement of nitrogen problems will outweigh the costs of many of the available measures. We conclude that this will be true also for agriculture, even taking into account the benefits of nitrogen fertilizer for farm income and food production."


'/>"/>

Contact: Barnaby Smith
bpgs@ceh.ac.uk
44-079-202-95384
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study: Excessive use of antiviral drugs could aid deadly flu
2. UTMB study identifies women at risk of gaining excessive weight with injectable birth control
3. New study finds way to stop excessive bone growth following trauma or surgery
4. Nitrogen applied
5. Lichens function as indicators of nitrogen pollution in forests
6. Cropland diversity reduces nitrogen pollution
7. Researchers call for nitrogen and phosphorus reductions to combat eutrophication in aquatic systems
8. Tree species composition influences nitrogen loss from forests
9. Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test measures microbial nitrogen
10. UC Davis begins $2.8 million in studies of agricultural nitrogens impacts
11. Nitrogen research shows how some plants invade, take over others
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and ... and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial ... and others), by end use industry (government and law ... financial and banking, and others), and by region ( ... , Asia Pacific , and the ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... MILAN , March 24, 2017 The Controller ... Deputy Controller Mr. Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international ... Continue Reading ... ... small picture) and Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Lithuania , March 21, 2017   ... and object recognition technologies, today announced the release ... kit (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition using ... cameras on a single computer. The new version ... to improve accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2017)... , ... June 23, 2017 , ... Biova, LLC., the ... has joined Biova’s Board of Directors. Dr. Henig will bring a wealth of scientific ... has served as the Chief Technical and Scientific Officer of four major global companies ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... Ken Hanson, a medical imaging research scientist ... have been selected as this year’s recipients of two top awards from SPIE, ... along with other honorees to accept their awards at a banquet in San Diego, ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the ... (UAA), the unifying voice for collegiate aviation education, are launching a joint UAS ... success through a STEM-based education platform. , Much like the program currently available ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... RMC Pharmaceutical Solutions, Inc. announces ... Reinhardt to manage the new site. , Tim has 25 years of pharmaceutical ... recent role as the Director of Manufacturing and Supplier Quality Assessment. This ...
Breaking Biology Technology: