Nitrogen pollution affects wide range of land, sea ecosystems
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Nitrogen pollution is becoming one of the most pervasive global environmental problems, with nutrient pollution from agricultural runoff and sewage leading to coral diseases, bird die-offs, fish diseases, human diarrheal diseases and vector-borne infections transmitted by insects such as mosquitos and ticks.
About two-thirds of U.S. coastal systems are moderately to severely impaired due to nutrient loading and there are now nearly 300 hypoxic (low oxygen) zones along the U.S. coastline.
Air pollution continues to reduce biodiversity, with exotic, invasive species dominating native species that are sensitive to excess reactive nitrogen. For example, in California, airborne nitrogen is impacting one third of the state’s natural land areas, and the expansion of nitrogen-loving, non-native, highly flammable grasses in the western U.S. has increased fire risk in the region.
These conclusions are part of a sobering assessment by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists led by Eric Davidson of the Woods Hole Research Center who reviewed the major sources of reactive nitrogen in the U.S., resulting effects on health and the environment, and potential solutions. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment, rivers, Summit County news, water, wetlands | Tagged: coral disease, Eutrophication, hypoxia, nitrogen pollution, ocean dead zones, Woods Hole Research Center | Leave a comment »