Element P

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for our food production and an important component of fertilizers. Most phosphorus is extracted from phosphate ore, wich is rapidly declining and available only in a few countries.

Several aspects of this problem are brought to the attention of the public. Although there is at the moment still enough phosphate to produce fertilizers, the production will start to decline in 30 to 40 years of time, while the world population is still growing. The scarcity will cause growing food prices and problems in the lower income countries.

The depletion of phosphorus is an indication that the planet is being exploited and it forces us to look for other possibilities to find this essential element. One option is recycling. Another is a more rational usag of the element: currently 30% of the phosphorus is not extracted in the winning process and the farmers tend to use too much fertilizer for their crops.

The current initiative to produce struvite out of wastewater is very interesting but asks for political support to adapt European bylaws around the use of fertilizers.

The video states that the Netherlands should show some initiatives in enabling the recycling of phosphorus out of liquid waste and wastewater. The urgency of the problem should become clear with the politicians working in the agricultural sector.

This video is produced on the initiative of the Nutrient Flow Task Group. The Dutch Nutrient Platform is one outcome of this Task Group.