Cycle in crisis: How nitrogen pollutes soil and water (in German)

PODCAST - 30 October 2018 Wilfried Winiwarter


Nitrogen is a central component of life and accounts for 78% of the earth's atmosphere. Plants need it to grow, but in certain forms and in high dosages, nitrogen can be hazardous to the environment. More than 400 billion kilograms of nitrogen is produced every year. Half of it comes from natural sources, while the other half results from human activity.


Most of the nitrogen we release comes from artificial fertilizer, which is used to increase food production. Over-fertilization of the soil however, endangers biodiversity, leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions, and pollutes drinking water with nitrate. IIASA researcher Wilfried Winiwarter takes part in a discussion on ORF’s Ö1-Dimensionen Mittagsjournal about what needs to be done to make the cycle run more smoothly (in German).

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