Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: SANH
Mains level: Potential threats of Nitrogen Pollution from various sources
- 18 research institutions in India are among a group of 50 institutions called the South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH) — in the UK and South Asia to assess and study the quantum and impact of “nitrogen pollution” in South Asia.
- 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 fertilisers, 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 fertilisers, manure and industry pollutes the rivers and seas, posing a health risk for humans, fish, coral and plant life.
Nitrogen emission in India
- NOx emissions grew at 52% from 1991 to 2001 and 69% from 2001 to 2011 in India.
- Agriculture is the largest contributor to nitrogen emissions.
- Non-agricultural emissions of nitrogen oxides and nitrous oxide were growing rapidly, with sewage and fossil-fuel burning — for power, transport and industry — leading the trend.
About South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH)
- The South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH) is a major international research programme to tackle the challenge that nitrogen pollution poses in South Asia.
- The SANH will be established with funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under its Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
- 18 Indian research institutions are part of a group of 50 which have received £20 million funding from the United Kingdom Government.
- The SANH will study the impact of the different forms of pollution to form a coherent picture of the nitrogen cycle.
- In particular, it will look at nitrogen in agriculture in eight countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives.
- Its recommendations will support cleaner and more profitable farming, as well as industrial recycling of nitrogen, fostering development of a cleaner circular economy for nitrogen.