Industrialisation contaminating lakes with nitrogenDecember 19th, 2011 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS
London, Dec 19 (IANS) Generated by industrialisation, nitrogen has been polluting lakes far and wide, some thousands of kilometres from the nearest city.
Twenty-five out of the 36 lakes under study across the US, Canada, Greenland and Norway show the same sign — that such biologically active nitrogen can be traced back to the end of the 19th century.
Researchers have analysed how the chemical composition of the sediment has changed over the centuries, the journal Science reports.
The nitrogen analyses of the lake sediments show that the changes began around 1895. The results also show that the rate of change has accelerated over the past 60 years, coinciding with commercial use and production of artificial fertilisers in the 1950s.
Sofia Holmgren, researcher in quaternary geology at Lund University, Sweden, is the only Swede to take part in the comprehensive study, according to a statement by the varsity.
“I have studied lakes in Svalbard (Norway), where the effects of the increased nitrogen deposition are clearly visible in the algal flora,” says Holmgren.
Combustion of fossil fuels and use of fertiliser are the main sources of the increasing amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere.
Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants, but overuse in more intensive farming can lead to pollution of water-courses, smog and acid rain in urban environments.
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Tags: acid rain, chemical composition, combustion of fossil fuels, fertilisers, holmgren, intensive farming, journal science, kilometres, lake sediments, lund university sweden, nitrogen deposition, nitrogen in the atmosphere, nutrient for plants, sediment, smog, svalbard norway, swede, urban environments, varsity, water courses