South Asia Nitrogen Hub (SANH), a group of 50 institutions from South Asia and the United Kingdom were granted Rs. 200 crore for studying the impact of nitrogen pollution in South Asia. Among the institutions are 18 India research institutions.
- Nitrogen is an inert gas and in the natural form it is non-reactive.
- But, nitrogen released from sources like agriculture, biological waste, sewage waste, and transportation fumes is reactive and causes adverse impacts on both the humans and the environment.
- This reactive nitrogen in the form of NO2 and NOx are a potent greenhouse gas with heat-trapping effect. It is also the cause for the formation of PM 2.5 and Ozone, the other potent pollutants.
- The major sources of oxides of nitrogen are vehicular emissions, coal-based power plants, manufacturing industries, lightning, volcanic activities, forest fires, agriculture, sewage, and other natural causes.
- Nitrogen pollution also occurs in water bodies due to excess usage of urea as fertilizers.
Why Research on Nitrogen Pollution?
- As per the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI), nitrogen (N2O) is 300 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide on which the global research is concentrated.
- Though the oxides of nitrogen are not as prevalent as CO2 in the atmosphere at present, in the future, it is a significant risk.
- So far, in South Asian countries there is no proper assessment and updating of the inventory regarding nitrogen pollution.
- By doing research, SANH will study the various impacts of this pollution and form a comprehensive picture of nitrogen cycle in South Asia.
- SANH will particularly look into nitrogen in agriculture in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the
- With the pace at which India is growing and end to the use of carbon-based fuels nowhere near to be seen, the research on nitrogen pollution comes at a right time.
- It will enable the lawmakers to frame policies and rules to curtail nitrogen pollution.
- It also generates awareness among the industries and the general public to avoid sources that generate a reactive form of nitrogen.
SANH’s concentration of research on agriculture will also provide an informed choice for the government and farmers to find alternative crops with less nitrogen pollution.
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