Ozone Pollution Kills Food Crops That Could Have Fed Millions

by Vins

Most people know about atmospheric ozone, but not many people have heard of ground level ozone. The American Geophysical Union reports that ground level ozone pollution in India has devastated “millions of tons of the country’s major crops, causing losses of more than a billion dollars and destroying enough food to feed tens of millions of people living below the poverty line.”

Sachin Ghude, the study’s lead author, noted that, among other effects, ground level ozone pollution can “cause leaf damage that stifles plant growth, inuring, and killing vegetation.” Ghude explained that, “ground level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds react with sunlight after the chemical’s release from vehicles.” It is not a chemical that naturally exists. He goes on to explain that “the pollution levels in India are rising, and the country’s capital has pollution levels that are comparable to those in Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world.”

Tom Revell from Blue and Green Tomorrow explains that the wheat and rice crops that were lost could have fed “94 million people,” which is roughly a third of the country’s poor population. Lastly, Jayalakshmi K from the International Business Times writes that ozone directly affects human health by “attacking and damaging lung tissue and affecting the heart.”

As of October 2014, the corporate media have not covered this story.


Sachin Ghude, et al. “Ozone pollution in India kills enough crops to feed 94 million in poverty.” American Geophysical Union. September 4, 2014, http://news.agu.org/press-release/ozone-pollution-in-india-kills-enough-crops-to-feed-94-million-in-poverty/.

Tom Revell. “India’s ozone pollution kills enough crops to feed 94m a year.” Blue and Green Tomorrow. September 7, 2014, http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2014/09/07/indias-ozone-pollution-kills-enough-crops-to-feed-94m-a-year/.

Jayalakshmi K.“Ozone Pollution in India Destroys Crops That Could Have Fed 94 Million of its Poor.” International Business Time. 5 September 2014. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ozone-pollution-india-destroys-crops-that-could-have-fed-94-million-its-poor-1464089.

Student Researcher: Mayher Ratra (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Elaine Wellin (Sonoma State University)