Air pol­lu­tion hits wheat

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

A RE­SEARCH pa­per, ti­tled "Re­cent cli­mate and air pol­lu­tion im­pacts on In­dian agri­cul­ture", fea­tured in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sciences, says wheat yield in densely pop­u­lated states re­duced by half com­pared to the fig­ure of 2010. Sci­en­tists an­a­lysed 30 years of data to bring out the im­pact of air pol­lu­tion on agri­cul­ture. Ac­cord­ing to this pa­per, close to 90 per cent of the loss in pro­duc­tion is linked to smog and other pol­lu­tants. "We hope our study puts the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits on clean­ing up the air on the ta­ble," says Jen­nifer Bur­ney, an au­thor of the study and sci­en­tist at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia. She adds that agri­cul­ture is of­ten not con­sid­ered when gov­ern­ments de­bate the eco­nomic costs of air pol­lu­tion and new leg­is­la­tion aimed at com­bat­ing it.

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