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Nitrogen pollution is the environmental threat we must hear more about

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CARBON is in the news a lot these days. Story after horrifying story tells of how carbon emissions are turning up Earth’s thermostat with dire consequences. But when it comes to the environment, there is another element we need to worry about. Nitrogen, carbon’s next-door neighbour on the periodic table, is at the centre of a different environmental crisis that is rarely in the limelight.

Like so much in life, nitrogen is good in moderation. It is the fourth most common element in your body, an essential ingredient of DNA and other crucial biomolecules. We get this nitrogen …