- Phosphorus resources, their depletion and conservation, a review
- Resources, conservation and recycling
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Yearly, about 22 × 1012 g phosphorus (P) from mined fossil phosphate resources are added to the world economy. The size of remaining fossil phosphate resources is uncertain but practically finite. Thus, fossil P resources may become depleted by ongoing mining. Despite calls for resource conservation, fossil P resources have been depleted at an increasing rate. Geographically, fossil P supply and demand are distributed in an increasingly uneven way, which has geopolitical consequences and may well affect security of supply. Current use of P gives rise to negative environmental impacts due to P losses from the economy and contaminants derived from fossil P resources. There may also be negative impacts on human health. Reducing the demand for fossil phosphorus may reduce environmental burdens and may improve the future security of supply. Technically speaking, there is much scope for the reduction of current demand for fossil P resources. Limiting consumption of P to essential uses, increased efficiency of agricultural use and increased recycling of P may substantially contribute to the reduction of demand for fossil P resources. Recycling of P has to face concerns regarding the efficiency of P recovery, pathogenic organisms and contaminating substances. Much work remains to be done to effectively address those concerns.
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