- November 19, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject – Environment
Context – Rising ammonia levels in West Africa linked to biomass burning
- Its chemical formula is NH3.
- It is a colourless gas and is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products.
- More than 80 per cent of ammonia made is consumed in the manufacturing of fertilizer, and most of the remainder goes into the production of formaldehyde.
- It occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter, and may also find its way to ground and surface water sources through industrial effluents, contamination by sewage or through agricultural runoff.
Effect of High Level of Ammonia:
- According to experts in Chemistry, ammonia is stored for industrial use in liquid form under high pressure or in gaseous form at low temperature.
- Ammonia reduces the amount of oxygen in water as it is transformed to oxidised forms of nitrogen. Hence, it also increases Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).
- If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm it is toxic to fishes.
- In humans, long term ingestion of water having ammonia levels of 1 ppm or above may cause damage to internal organs.
- Ammonia, even in moderate concentration, can cause irritation to eyes, skin, nose and throat.
- It interacts immediately upon contact with moisture present in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, and respiratory tract to form ammonium hydroxide.
- It is very caustic and disrupts the cell membrane lipids, ultimately leading to cellular destruction.
Ammonia in Humans
- Ammonia, which is highly soluble in water, is found in soil, air, and water; it is naturally present in the body.
- It is secreted by the kidneys to neutralize excess acid.
- However, it is highly diluted when in the environment and does not affect the human body to a noticeable level.