Study: Excessive nitrogen harms the economy and environment

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A major new study finds that nitrogen pollution is costing each person in Europe around £ 130 - £ 650 (€ 150 – € 740 Euros) a year. The first European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA) was launched at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland on 11 April 2011, the Soil Association reports. The study, carried out by 200 experts from 21 countries and 89 organizations, estimates that the annual cost of damage caused by nitrogen across Europe is £ 60 - £ 280 billion (€ 70 -320 billion), more than double the extra income gained from using nitrogen fertilizers in European agriculture.

Commenting on the report, Isobel Tomlinson, policy and campaigns officer at the Soil Association said: "Organic farmers are not allowed to use artificial fertilisers so they avoid many of the environmental problems caused by the vast quantities of synthetic nitrogen used to produce food in non-organic system, that this report highlights. By growing legume crops such as beans and clover that fix nitrogen naturally, organic agriculture avoids the greenhouse gas emissions from both the manufacture and use of artificial nitrogen. Further, organic agriculture uses nitrogen more efficiently and has lower nitrogen surpluses meaning that less nitrate is leached out of the soil where it can cause damage to the wider environment."

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