Dr. Viney Aneja,
College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, 919/515-0300
NC State Scientists Head Up National Workshop on Agricultural Air Pollution
It isn’t often that environmentalists, policy-makers, scientists, regulators and economists all see eye-to-eye on pollution. But a North Carolina State University scientist hopes to change all that by spearheading the creation of the first national workshop on agricultural air pollution. “The Workshop on Agricultural Air Quality: State of the Science” will be held at the Bolger Conference Center in Potomac, Md., from June 5 to 8.
Dr. Viney Aneja, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences in NC State’s College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, in collaboration with Dean William Schlesinger of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, created the workshop in response to what they see as agriculture’s increasing impact on the environment – specifically on air quality.
“Industrial agriculture is a very effective and efficient way to feed large populations, but no one has ever really studied the impact of agricultural pollution on air quality,” Aneja says. “With the varied crops we produce and the fact that we have agriculture throughout our state instead of just in one area, North Carolina is really ground zero in terms of agricultural air pollution.”
The four-day workshop will address two main issues: identifying the airborne pollutants produced by agriculture, and suggesting the best practices for mitigating these emissions in order to preserve the environment.
“As a land-grant institution whose researchers are already engaged in agricultural issues, we hope to capture the imagination of the scientific community and bring this issue national and global prominence,” Aneja says.
More than 400 participants – including policy-makers, environmentalists, scientists and economists – from the United States and nations around the world will address issues ranging from air quality standards to ecosystems and economics. Poster and plenary sessions will give attendees from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds opportunities to find common ground.
Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, will give the keynote address. NC State will send a contingent of more than 30 students, faculty, and administrators, including Chancellor James L. Oblinger, to the workshop. Oblinger will provide welcome remarks.
Aneja intends to publish the workshop’s results in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The workshop is funded by a three-year, $400,000 grant from the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), a division of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, with additional funding from the National Science Foundation and other organizations.
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