Assessment of the State of Atmospheric Nitrogen and Phosphorus in the Lower Fraser Valley (LFV)
Ziqi Wang, MLWS 2020
Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) are critical nutrients in limiting the growth of plants and organisms. However, high-level atmospheric N and P can cause adverse effects on the receiving water, air, and soil ecosystems, triggering numerous environmental problems. This study focuses on the state of atmospheric nitrogen and phosphorus in the Lower Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada, and aims to find primary sources of emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus into the atmosphere. In the study area, there is a total of 25960 tonnes of N emitted into the atmosphere. Both agricultural and urban ecosystems contribute to N emissions. The agricultural emission is approximately 8260 tonnes of N, accounting for 71% of total NH3 emission and 10% of total NOx emission, mainly from fertilizer and manure volatilization and rural fuel combustion. In contrast, the emissions of NOx in the LFV is dominated by the urban ecosystem due to municipal solid waste incineration and fuel combustion. As for P emission, even though there is no robust data to quantify the emission sources, the finding suggests that dust emission and food waste incineration are the main drivers. With the increasing awareness of adverse effects associated with excessive atmospheric N and P, the government in British Columbia should pay more attention to this issue and develop relevant policies and management practices, and encourage more programs to focus on nutrients elimination mitigation.