Air Pollution

International Nitrogen Initiative (INI)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nitrogen pollution

Mains level : NA

The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the main focus of the eighth triennial conference of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) being held virtually this week.

International Nitrogen Initiative

  • INI is an international program, set up in 2003 under the sponsorship of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP).
  • The key aims of the INI are to:
  1. optimize nitrogen’s beneficial role in sustainable food production, and
  2. minimize nitrogen’s negative effects on human health and the environment resulting from food and energy production.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Which of the following adds/add nitrogen to the soil?

  1. Excretion of Urea by animals
  2. Burning of coal by man
  3. Death of vegetation

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2, and 3

Why nitrogen?

  • Reactive nitrogen compounds like NOx, ammonia and the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide impact air, water and soil quality, health, biodiversity and climate change, among others.
  • These compounds are lost from fertilizers, manures, and sewage as well as from fuel burning in transport and industry.
  • Assessing and managing them sustainably will be crucial to achieving the 17 UN SDGs targeted for 2030.

Also read:

[Burning Issue] Nitrogen Pollution in India

Back2Basics: Nitrogen Pollution

  • While nitrogen is the dominant gas in the atmosphere, it is inert and doesn’t react.
  • However, when it is released as part of compounds from agriculture, sewage and biological waste, nitrogen is considered reactive.
  • It may be polluting and even exert a potent greenhouse gas effect.
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O) is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide but isn’t as prevalent in the atmosphere.
  • Other than air pollution, nitrogen is also linked to the loss of biodiversity, the pollution of rivers and seas, ozone depletion, health, economy, and livelihoods.
  • Nitrogen pollution is caused, for example, by emissions from chemical fertilizers, livestock manure and burning fossil fuels.
  • Gases such as ammonia (NH3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) contribute to poor air quality and can aggravate respiratory and heart conditions, leading to millions of premature deaths across the world.
  • Nitrate from chemical fertilizers, manure, and industry pollute the rivers and seas, posing a health risk for humans, fish, coral, and plant life.

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