Unfortunately, unexpected problems often come along with great progress. For example, the use of nitrogen from fertilizers and manure has led to exceptional crop yields. When too concentrated in a particular area, however, it can cause nitrogen pollution, a growing problem across the country.
What is nitrogen pollution?
Nitrogen is an element that is vital for plant growth. That’s why it’s often added to the soil through the application of fertilizers and manure. Too much nitrogen, however, makes its way into groundwater and eventually into rivers, lakes, and streams.
There, fast-growing plants use the nitrogen to grow even faster. But, slower growing plants with beneficial qualities to the ecosystem can’t compete and the natural balance is thrown off kilter. As these plants die, they use up oxygen, leaving fish and other aquatic life to die as well. Algae blooms and rapid growth of invasive plant species are common when nitrogen pollution is present.
Where is nitrogen pollution most prevalent?
It’s not surprising that the hotspots for nitrogen pollution throughout the U.S. are in areas where agricultural operations are in full swing. A recent study, however, has noted that these areas also represent some of the most promising places where pollution could be reduced. In fact, there are 20 locations in the U.S. (see the map below) where the most impact could be made, especially since reducing the amount of nitrogen used there wouldn’t adversely affect crop production.
Map by Kyra Chevalier and researchers. Image credit: University of Vermont, Datawrapper.
Environmentally friendly solutions
Finding a way to increase or maintain crop yields without the need for excess nitrogen is a great first step in reducing nitrogen pollution. As scientists and researchers continue to investigate alternatives, it can be helpful to look at other eco-friendly solutions as well.
Take the Salt Miner, for example. This device is most commonly thought of as an add-on retrofit for water softeners. By filtering out water softener salt from the brine discharge before it goes down the drain and into the septic system, it can be a great method for preventing salt pollution.
Using a similar process, the Salt Miner can also effectively filter nitrates out of water before they become too concentrated and cause all the negative effects of nitrogen pollution. Rather than continuing to do what has caused environmental harm for ages, why not look at other possibilities that can benefit us all in the long run? If you’re interested in doing your part to prevent salt or nitrogen pollution, contact us today to see how the Salt Miner can help you in your efforts!