A U.S. National Science Foundation-supported examine finds that the majority phosphorus stakeholders — representing a large swath of business, agriculture, environmental and coverage pursuits — have important doubts in regards to the long-term sustainability of present phosphorus administration methods. The examine underscores the complicated challenges going through policymakers and different decision-makers as they try to make sure our continued entry to a essential useful resource that’s finite and largely non-renewable.
Phosphorus is a naturally occurring aspect utilized in all kinds of business sectors. For instance, phosphorus is a key ingredient in agricultural fertilizers, contributing to meals manufacturing on a world scale. Nevertheless, phosphorus runoff additionally contributes to main water high quality points, such because the formation of oxygen-free “useless zones.”
“From an business standpoint, the fertilizer, agriculture, mining, meals processing and chemical manufacturing sectors all have a stake in phosphorus — it is an extremely necessary useful resource,” says Khara Grieger at North Carolina State University, corresponding creator of the examine. “Phosphorus stakeholders additionally embrace policymakers, wastewater therapy services and environmental teams who’re involved in regards to the adversarial impacts mismanaged phosphorus has on water high quality.
“If there are two key takeaway messages right here, certainly one of them is that there’s very actual concern among the many majority of phosphorus stakeholders in regards to the sustainability of this important useful resource,” says Grieger. “The opposite takeaway is that there is no such thing as a silver bullet for addressing this problem — the wants and issues throughout stakeholder teams are too diverse and are usually context and site-specific.”
If we need to develop methods and insurance policies for sustainability of phosphorus assets, “we’ve to know the wants, needs and issues of related stakeholders,” Grieger says. “Nevertheless, thus far, little or no has been performed to know and doc how phosphorus stakeholders view phosphorus sustainability or what challenges they understand associated to making sure sustainable phosphorus methods extra broadly.”
The paper reporting the outcomes is printed within the journal Environment Systems and Decisions.
Nevertheless, when researchers requested examine members about what is required to advance phosphorus sustainability, three objects stood out.
“Greater than 50% of respondents reported that new, improved or completely different laws are wanted; improved administration practices and procedures are wanted; and new or improved applied sciences are wanted,” Grieger says.