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Home arrow The Daily Dirt arrow Wednesday What's New: Acid Rain and Rice
Wednesday What's New: Acid Rain and Rice Print E-mail
Written by Heleigh Bostwick    Wednesday, 05 October 2016
Rice paddy

Most of what we hear about regarding acid rain is negative, but here’s something positive. According to new research posted by Science Daily, acid rain from atmospheric pollution can reduce emissions of methane (a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide) from rice paddies by as much as 24 per cent--potentially a beneficial side effect of the high pollution levels China, the world’s largest producer of rice.

The study, which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, a UK based organization, actually took place in Portuguese rice paddies. Unlike the soils in Chinese rice paddies, the Portuguese soils have not been polluted by acid rain so they are similar to those in Chinese paddies before they became so polluted by sulfate, the main component in acid rain.

The study indicated that acid rain might actually increase crop yields, however, more research is needed. Dr Vincent Gauci of The Open University, the researcher who led the study stated that increased grain production might be reducing a source of food for the methane producing micro-organisms that live in the soil. While this is potentially good news, what I find most disturbing is the high levels of pollution in China that are not just confined to the Chinese borders, but are carried on the trade winds throughout Asia, where the majority of the world’s rice is grown.