Using Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer ( 335 Follett ) Essay

Using Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer ( 335 Follett ) Essay

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It was the early 1900s when a process that forever changed industrial agriculture was developed; farmers were able to grow up to three times the amount of crops than they had previously by using synthetic nitrogen fertilizer (335 Follett). Consequently, use of inorganic fertilizer spread across the globe and the amount being used climbed to incomprehensible numbers. Production of food was skyrocketing, and it looked as if farming would never again return to its once traditional methods… until we realized that there was such a thing as too much nitrogen in the environment.
While nitrogen makes up 78% percent of the Earth’s atmosphere, four quadrillion metric tons of it is in the form of N2 (Zimdahl 55). This molecule is held together by an extremely strong triple bond, which makes it very stable, and therefore, it does not readily react. In order for the element to become reactive, it must be fixated, meaning converted into a less inert compound. This occurs naturally, namely by certain types of bacteria and in the air by the mode of lightning; however, the quantity being fixed in this way was unsatisfactory to our desires. Therefore, a century ago, chemists across the globe were racing to discover a practical way to render the N2 molecule useful at a substantial rate. The solution eluded scientists until 1910, when Fritz Haber’s method of ammonia (NH3) synthesis was successfully transformed into an industrial-scale process by engineer Carl Bosch (Zimdahl 57). It was coined the Haber-Bosch process, and at the time, it became critically important in production of explosives for Germany during World War I. Since wartime need for nitrogen was sporadic but agricultural need was constant, continued use of the Haber-Bosch proc...


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... could diminish nitrogen levels in rivers by seven percent within the next decade (Chatterjee). Unfortunately, there is no end-all strategy for dealing with nitrogen pollution, but instead there are simply available techniques that can be employed by persons with incentive to minimize the magnitude of the effects.
Nitrogen pollution became a problem because of a thirst for wealth, and it is likely going to continue escalating for the same reason. The majority of farmers have more interest in the state of their finances than they do in the state of the environment, which is why the issue has yet to improve. Since recorded time, humans have a track record of ignorantly destroying the environment in order to make their present problems easier. In fixing current predicaments, they simply create future complications, and nitrogen pollution is a compelling example.

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