The world awash with Nitrogen

  • Nitrogen is an inert, naturally occurring compound that is essential for life, exists mainly in our atmosphere and was cycled at low, but balanced levels for millennia.
  • Recent research shows that humans have disrupted the nitrogen balance. Major increases in nitrogen can be linked to 1895, coinciding with the large scale burning of fossil fuels and 1970, in line with the ‘Green Revolution’ and the large scale manufacturing of fertilizers.
  • The impacts of increased nitrogen levels include decreased water quality, deterioration of coastal marine fisheries and decreased value of recreation waters. These impacts cross multiple policy boundaries.

Moving forward, Government may seek solutions that target more than one policy issue thus improving the economic efficiency of their policy decisions.

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