Farmers reap agricultural benefits of good air quality
Good air quality has a huge impact on the output and quality of agricultural products. This was amply proved by American research, which showed that the improvement in air quality in the United States from 1999 to 2019 was one of the main reasons for the increase in corn and soybean production.
The researchers collected data on ozone, suspended particulates, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide content provided by air quality monitoring stations and satellite telemetry stations in nine American states, as well as crop yield data in various regions for comparative analysis.
The results showed that the above-mentioned four air pollutants would reduce the yield of corn and soybeans. As coal-fired power plants are one of the main sources of air pollution, the research team also found that farms farther away from such power plants saw increased crop yield.
The researchers said that toxic gases in the air, such as sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen oxides, can enter the leaves through the open stomata on their surface, thus affecting photosynthesis efficiency and damaging leaf tissue, leading to yellowing, whitening and withering of the leaves.
Some pollutants (such as heavy metals) will naturally settle or invade the soil through rain. At this time, the ability of roots to absorb nutrients will be disturbed, thus hindering the growth of plants.
In this regard, the excellence of air quality on Chongming Island increased from 80.5 percent in 2017 to 92.8 percent in 2021, and the concentration of fine particulate matter PM2.5 decreased by 31.6 percent during the same period.
The concentration of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide continued to decrease, reaching the national first-class standard. Chongming's overall air quality is one of the best among Shanghai's 16 districts.
Farmers who plant crispy taros in Luhu Village are proud of their better quality product compared to neighboring provinces. The 10 hectares of honey pear planted in Xinhe Town also require a high growth environment, and only in Chongming can they grow well, according to local farmers.
Huang Guochao, who plants rice in Miaozhen Town and initiated the "rice-fish symbiosis" project, told Shanghai Daily, "We don't use pesticides to enhance rice growth because the soil is good, the water is good, and the air is good."
Although there is no direct research data, the positive impact of good air on agricultural products has been unanimously recognized by Chongming farmers.