The Soil Association highlighted the issue of peak phosphorous and its threat to food security in their report: A rock and a hard place, in 2010 (which appears to be no longer available on-line?). And made several recommendations for the UK Government, it would like to implement. In an article I posted in 2013, I highlighted the work Wessex Water was doing to recycle nutrients. Using the waste from their bio-digester plant, which also produces electricity and bio-gas. They also employ chemists to work with their customers, to ensure their land gets the right amount of nutrients.
Unfortunately, the Agra-chemical companies, who produce the fertilisers (mostly from fossil fuels) for industrialised farming industry. Have the money and the lobbying might, to try and prevent, the large scale uptake of organic farming practices. In fact, one of the issues being highlighted at the present time, is the pharmaceutical drug residue, that might be present in the recycled waste? In September 2016, the European Commission’s Science for Environmental Policy, published a news alert. It was titled: Applying sewage sludge to soil may spread antibiotic resistance. It has been widely acknowledge, that their has been an abuse of the use of antibiotics in humans and animals. From which the chemical companies also benefit from, as well as their trade in fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
Back in 2007, Green Alliance examined the challenges and opportunities for the more sustainable use of nutrients, chiefly nitrogen and phosphorus, in the UK. It recommended a suite of policy principles to make a more circular system a reality.
Little has happened since in the UK. But last month I was asked to present Green Alliance’s policy principles to a conference of Nordic countries in Malmo, and to discuss how to take the agenda forward. I discovered that the ideas remain relevant and useful.
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