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Chemical Fertilizer Issues
 
Chemical Fertilizers feed the world for the short term - but what about the future?
Cell Phone Radiation in Images
 
Ways to reduce the radiation...
Plastic Packaging Waste
 
Plastic packaging and other non-biodegradable disposables are the most persistent and infrequently recycled forms of waste.
Extreme Weather
 
Highly reliable global temperature measurements show the planet is warming and the water cycle (hydrological cycle) is becoming more active; creating higher rates of evaporation and precipitation. Droughts and floods are the natural consequences of warmer temperatures: droughts because it’s hotter, floods because warmer seas release more water vapor.
Dead Zones
 
This year’s heavy rainfall and flooding means excessive runoff and nitrogen input for the Gulf. 2011 could see the worst Gulf dead zone yet...
Hydraulic Fracking Basics
 
Things you might not have known about hydraulic fracking, but should know...
BP Spill - One Year Later
 
Our government has not passed one law to protect our environment from oil or gas drilling since the spill...
The WE Party Manifesto
 
This is 'our' planet and our children's future depends on this planet. Our air, our water, our land, our wildlife...all of these precious resources are collectively ours. We can no longer sit silent and let dysfunction take our planet down.
The Japanese Tsunami's Wake
 
The earthquake took place at 14:46 JST, the tsunami hit the closest land at 15:12 JST. The surge was as high as 33 feet. A catastrophe of incomprehensible magnitude.
A Tribute to Dolphin Mothers and their Calves
 
Sad events are taking place in the Gulf...
Koch Brothers' Products
 
If you have been following news about the Koch brothers, you might be curious as to which products they manufacture. It would be highly unlikely that you are not surrounded by their goods...
Midway Island Albatross
 
I know these photos by Chris Jordan have been out for a while now. But I just could not face these images until recently. It really is life changing if you do look; and learn the story behind this aberration...
DEET in our Waterways
 
The Minnesota Department of Health has placed DEET on the top spot on its list of "chemicals of emerging concern" and will conduct numerous tests this year. The main objective of the research will be to calculate a "safe" level of exposure. Although DEET has been okayed for clothes and skin (in moderation) it has never been meant for consumption. But with its increasing popularity and abundant usage it is showing up in ever greater quantities in our rivers, streams and lakes and it is only a matter of time before it shows up in our drinking water as well.
How The Average American Uses Energy
 
The average U.S. American consumes 335.9 million BTUs per year, the world per person average is 72.4 million BTUs. 48.2% of US electricity comes from coal. Only 3.7% comes from solar, wind, and geothermal. The average U.S. American uses 441 gallons of gas for their car each year... and more...
DECT Phone Safety
 
Radiation from cell phones has been getting a lot of press of late but according to the BioInitiative Report cordless phones look to be just as deadly as cell phones when it comes to brain tumors and acoustic neuromas. DECT technology originated in Europe and has since been widely introduced throughout the world. Today more than 800 million DECT systems are in use. The pulsed frequencies of the radiation used in DECT technology are in the microwave band. The ICNIRP is responsible for monitoring and creating guidelines for radiation technologies. The ICNIRP guidelines focus exclusively on high frequency radiation and thermal activity. But many scientists have been pointing out that pulsed microwaves at low frequencies are also cause for alarm.
BP Oil Spill
 
It is somewhat ironic that an extensive environmental study in the Gulf carried out by the Minerals Management Service, that counted and noted habitat preferences of cetaceans (marine mammals with a blowhole for breathing- including whales, porpoises and dolphins) encountered two species (melon-headed whales and fraser's dolphins) that were rarely seen in the area before... During the study the ship heard and saw numerous sperm whales in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon. There is a native population of about 1400 sperm whales that live in the Gulf of Mexico year round. And scientists say if we lose just a few of them due to this spill, it could dangerously tip their numbers into the negative. See many more photos here- of native cetaceans and the Gulf dilemma....
Is spring arriving earlier?
 
A new study out of the UK, published by the Royal Society, shows that flowers are blooming 2 to 12 days earlier than they did 25 years ago. The study used 400,000 records of first blooms, and looked at over 400 species of flowers. The research showed this pattern of early blooming to be the first in recorded history. The study also showed that a 1 degree Celsius change, over a short two year period, resulted in an earlier flowering time of five days. An earlier British study "Rapid Changes in Flowering Time in British Plants" (Fitter, 2002) showed that 385 plant species bloomed 4 and a half days earlier during the 1990s than the 4 decades prior. And yet another study out of the UK, by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology found that in 2005, species were breeding on average 11.7 days earlier than in 1976. In the U.S....
Organic vegetables start out as seed...
 
For the past year there has been an uproar in the vegetable seed business as Monsanto has purchased Seminis (a seed conglomerate that has 40% of the U.S. vegetable seed market) and De Ruiter Seeds. Monsanto is now in the vegetable seed business for the first time and it's in big time. 55 percent of store bought lettuce, 75 percent of U.S. tomatoes, and 85 percent of peppers now originate through Monsanto's fingers. If you wish to steer clear of purchasing Monsanto seed- you need to do a bit of homework, as even reputable seed companies that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, are still selling Seminis (now Monsanto) seed. Buying seed from a seed exchange, buying open-pollinated and organic are safe ways to avoid Monsanto seed.
State of the Planet
 
Today, during the State of the Planet Conference 2010 at Columbia University, Prince Albert of Monaco, via satellite, expressed "we are at the dawn of major changes." Here in the West, as we wake up to this new day, there is much yawning and shaking away of the slumber... Letting go of 100 years of combustion, and starting a new paradigm, is an awesome challenge for developed nations who are stuck in their vision of fenced in, lawn-covered yards and oil dependent infrastructure.
Old fridge recycled- new fridge rebate...
 
On the government's Energy Star site there's a "Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator". I put in approximate age of fridge, size, type (side-by-side), electricity rate. Hit go. Wow, says this old fridge here in NY costs $410 a year to operate. Says the savings would be $1565 over the next five years if it were replaced by an Energy Star model which would cost a quarter less to operate; $97 a year (v $410) for a similar type fridge. Plus a $105 rebate...
 
Showing 21 - 40 of 49 Articles
< Previous 123 Next >



Chemical Fertilizers feed the world for the Short Term - but what about the Future?
By Marisa Buxbaum

chemical fertilizer polution
Dark red circles indicate oil spills and gray-shaded areas indicate sea pollution and land pollution from chemical fertilizers. worldprocessor.com


In 1798, English economist Thomas Malthus first warned about the dangers of unchecked population growth in An Essay on the Principle of Population. Crop production, he concluded, was no match for an explosively increasing human presence. Worldwide famine and mass death would eventually result unless this increase could be slowed. Over two hundred years and billions of people later, humankind has defied what Malthus forecast as inevitable. The world population is creeping up to the 7 billion mark, and until the mid-2030s, the planet can expect to shoulder annual additions of 50 to 70 million more people. That’s quite a few mouths to feed. Although hunger tragically plagues over 13% of that 7 billion, mostly in developing nations, starvation is an issue of poverty and access to fertile land and water – not, as Malthus suggested, absolute food availability. We are, in fact, able to grow enough food to feed everybody. How is this possible?


1960s innovations in agriculture, known as the Green Revolution, saw the development of thirsty, super-productive crop strains and farming technologies that allowed production to keep pace with population. These high-yield varieties need plenty of nutrients (and water), and are thus fueled by inorganic fertilizers that typically contain nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium. The value of these fertilizers should not be understated; without them, much of the world would be without food. But fertilizer overuse and production is also credited with environmental degradation, prompting some scientists to re-examine the Green Revolution’s effects with a more critical lens.


Although all plants require the nutrients contained in fertilizers for growth, current application rates are threatening the environment. Global fertilizer use has reached staggering amounts, and is projected to rise. By 2015, world fertilizer consumption is estimated to reach nearly 190 million tons.


fertilizer production amounts
In million tons...



One of the key players in modern industrial agriculture is fertilizer derived from nitrogen fixation, responsible in some cases for up to 75% of crop yield increases. Global supply of nitrogen has doubled since World War II, thanks to the discovery of the Haber-Bosch process, which makes the production of industrial fertilizers possible. The Haber-Bosch process takes nonreactive atmospheric nitrogen and turns it into ammonia – a plant nutrient – through an energy-intensive procedure using high heat and pressures. (good Wired article explanation) It is estimated that 1% of the world’s energy consumption goes toward fertilizer manufacture. That energy, of course, requires the burning of fossil fuels. On average, 5.5 gallons of fossil fuels per acre, per year are needed to fertilize soil for farming.



fertilizer plant pollution
Fertilizer production, Florida. Photo copyright J Henry Fair industrialscars.com


The production of phosphate- and potash-based fertilizers causes ecological damage through the mining processes it entails: draining huge quantities of water from local ecosystems, removal of vegetation, and the discharge of greenhouse gases to name a few (for an extensive list of mining impacts: www.elaw.org). Additionally, radioactive waste is generated by the processing of phosphorus for agricultural use, as mined phosphate rock contains naturally occurring radioactive materials (uranium and thorium). Phosphogypsum is one of these wastes, and a commonly used fertilizer to boost levels of calcium and sulfur in soils. The EPA does not permit the use of phosphogypsum above a certain radioactivity level (concentrations of radium-226 greater than 10 pCi/g), but farmers may apply phosphogypsum without limitation, and need not keep records of their application rates. Another byproduct of fertilizer production, phosphate slag, is reused for construction purposes – primarily roads, bridges, railways, and other non-habitable infrastructure. While the EPA states that phosphate slag is less prone to radionuclide leaching than phosphogypsum, levels of radium, thorium, and uranium in phosphate slag have occasionally been as high as 50 pCi/g. Because phosphogypsum more radioactive than 10pCi/g is unusable, it is stored in enormous stacks, typically on unprepared land at production sites. These stacks are left uncovered, exude carcinogenic radon gas, and can leak acidic water into the ground. (source)



chemical fertilizer pollution
Phosphate mine in North Carolina ptrf.org


The U.S. biofuel industry relies heavily on the mining of phosphate for fertilizers. Phosphate cannot be substituted with any other mineral, and so growing biofuel demands could precipitate a future shortage of this resource in as little as 50 years. So much for the renewability of ethanol. Phosphate rock’s growing scarcity has increased both the price of the mineral itself (roughly 350% between 2003 and 2008) as well as the food it is used to fertilize, prompting riots in over 40 countries in 2008. The prospects of finding new phosphorus reserves large enough to satisfy growing demand are slim, and the ore itself takes millions of years to form. Like crude oil, remaining phosphorus could soon become a point of geopolitical contention – its main sources for export are Morocco, Syria, Jordan, South Africa, Russia, and the Western Sahara.



fertilizer runoff
Early morning fertilizer runoff after late night storm.
Photo copyright J Henry Fair industrialscars.com


Fertilizers do not just affect the crops on which they are applied, but drain off into the soil and nearby waterways. In aquatic systems, they boost the growth of algae, which bloom en masse and deprive the surrounding water of oxygen. This process is called eutrophication, and areas of severe eutrophication – waters that do not have enough oxygen to support life – are known as dead zones. The leaching nitrates can also impact drinking water supplies if located near wells, and nitrate-contaminated water has been linked to gastric problems in adults. Infants are more susceptible to adverse health effects, and should not consume water with concentrations of nitrate in excess of 10 mg/L. Since most purification methods do not effectively remove nitrates from water, contamination ought to be prevented in the first place.

While intended to enrich soils, overuse of fertilizers can in fact stunt crop productivity. Because most crops are suited to a neutral pH range, soil acidification from heavy nitrogen inputs can counteract the intended effects of fertilizer addition. Such is the case in China, where acidic soils boost parasite abundance and facilitate the leaching of toxic metals like aluminum and manganese. There, agricultural experts say that many areas would benefit from application reductions of up to 60%. China is the world's top consumer of fertilizers and it is estimated that 10 million tons of fertilizer end up in China's waterways. Groundwater pollution is occurring, and in other Asian countries besides China: Japan, Korea, and Vietnam are all experiencing contamination of water from fertilizers.


chemical fertilizer polution
suarticlese.co.cc


Better management practices are a good option for reducing environmental impacts. The Southwest Florida Management District recently kicked off an awareness campaign to encourage responsible fertilizer use at the municipal level (see swfwmd.state.fl.us). The EPA launched a similar campaign in 2005, partnering with the MTA to inform suburban comuters on New York’s public transit system of the hazards of excess chemical fertilizers entering the drinking water (yosemite.epa.gov). Perhaps an awareness campaign on Western dietary habits is also in order: because so much of grain production goes into livestock feed – in the U.S., a whopping 80% – lowering meat consumption can relieve some demands for fertilizer. Home gardeners can go organic and eschew its application. Examples of organic fertilizers include compost, compost tea, manure, leaf mold, fish emulsion, seaweed and urine. For organic lawn ideas see: www.extremelygreen.com


If chemical fertilizers are necessary, the following guidelines can help minimize contaminated drainage into sensitive areas:


· Time your fertilizer applications. Fast-acting fertilizers should
not be applied before a heavy rainfall. Spring fertilization
should be minimized—water tables are generally high at that
time, thereby increasing the risk of fertilizer leaching into water
sources. Do not apply fertilizer on frozen ground—the likelihood
of runoff into water supply sources is dramatically increased.

· Use buffer strips. Leave a strip of unfertilized grasses or natural
vegetation near any water body. This helps against erosion and
produces a trap for unwanted nutrients. Reduse usage on hills.

· Use a mulching mower. Mulching the grass and leaving the
clippings reduces the need for fertilizer by as much as one-half.

· Prevent misapplication of fertilizers. Take care when applying
fertilizers around sewers and drains. Shut off spreaders before
crossing sidewalks or driveways and sweep up any spills. Rinse
your spreader over the lawn area and not on the driveway in
order to minimize fertilizer runoff.

· Properly store your fertilizer. Store unused fertilizer in a dry place
away from any water source. If stored fertilizer gets wet you not
only lose nutrient value, there is potential for nitrates to leach
into water sources. (from mass.gov)



chemical fertilizer pollution
sbprojectcleanwater.org



Malthus may have been wrong up until now – we can produce enough food to feed the world with the use of inorganic fertilizers. But with the environmental destruction and looming resource shortages, our reliance cannot last forever. Dealing with the problem on the industrial scale will pose serious challenges. It may be time for a second Green Revolution, and one that takes into account our unsustainable farming practices.




Additional Sources:

S.K.A. Danso and D.L. Eskew. “Enhancing Biological Nitrogen Fixation.” IAEA Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 2. www.iaea.org.pdf
EPA. “Fertilizer and Fertilizer Production Wastes.” www.epa.gov
Richard Manning. Harper’s Magazine, 2004. “The Oil We Eat: Following the Food Chain Back to Iraq.” www.harpers.org



Resources:

How U.S. biofuel industry will increase demand for fertilizers: www.icis.com
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, April 2011, “Excessive nitrogen harms the economy and environment – first Europe-wide assessment published.” www.ceh.ac.uk
2008 New York Times article on spot fertilizer shortages: www.nytimes.com
Lessons from the Green Revolution: is new technology needed to end hunger? From FoodFirst, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating hunger: www.foodfirst.org
Wired Magazine article, from 2008, on the need for new fertilizer tech: www.wired.com

 

 

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waisake mikiwai
Posts: 2
Comment
good topic
Reply #2 on : Tue March 19, 2013, 20:04:02
This topic has been a major issue at most place but people are not taking this issue very seriously....fertrilizer has alot of problem to our enviroment
Anonymous
Posts: 2
Comment
Re: The Issues with Chemical Fertilizers
Reply #1 on : Sun December 16, 2012, 04:59:50
it was really helpful and clarifying knowledge thank you
Blog Additional Posts
Showing 21 - 40 of 49 Articles
< Previous 123 Next >
Chemical Fertilizer Issues
 
Chemical Fertilizers feed the world for the short term - but what about the future?
Cell Phone Radiation in Images
 
Ways to reduce the radiation...
Plastic Packaging Waste
 
Plastic packaging and other non-biodegradable disposables are the most persistent and infrequently recycled forms of waste.
Extreme Weather
 
Highly reliable global temperature measurements show the planet is warming and the water cycle (hydrological cycle) is becoming more active; creating higher rates of evaporation and precipitation. Droughts and floods are the natural consequences of warmer temperatures: droughts because it’s hotter, floods because warmer seas release more water vapor.
Dead Zones
 
This year’s heavy rainfall and flooding means excessive runoff and nitrogen input for the Gulf. 2011 could see the worst Gulf dead zone yet...
Hydraulic Fracking Basics
 
Things you might not have known about hydraulic fracking, but should know...
BP Spill - One Year Later
 
Our government has not passed one law to protect our environment from oil or gas drilling since the spill...
The WE Party Manifesto
 
This is 'our' planet and our children's future depends on this planet. Our air, our water, our land, our wildlife...all of these precious resources are collectively ours. We can no longer sit silent and let dysfunction take our planet down.
The Japanese Tsunami's Wake
 
The earthquake took place at 14:46 JST, the tsunami hit the closest land at 15:12 JST. The surge was as high as 33 feet. A catastrophe of incomprehensible magnitude.
A Tribute to Dolphin Mothers and their Calves
 
Sad events are taking place in the Gulf...
Koch Brothers' Products
 
If you have been following news about the Koch brothers, you might be curious as to which products they manufacture. It would be highly unlikely that you are not surrounded by their goods...
Midway Island Albatross
 
I know these photos by Chris Jordan have been out for a while now. But I just could not face these images until recently. It really is life changing if you do look; and learn the story behind this aberration...
DEET in our Waterways
 
The Minnesota Department of Health has placed DEET on the top spot on its list of "chemicals of emerging concern" and will conduct numerous tests this year. The main objective of the research will be to calculate a "safe" level of exposure. Although DEET has been okayed for clothes and skin (in moderation) it has never been meant for consumption. But with its increasing popularity and abundant usage it is showing up in ever greater quantities in our rivers, streams and lakes and it is only a matter of time before it shows up in our drinking water as well.
How The Average American Uses Energy
 
The average U.S. American consumes 335.9 million BTUs per year, the world per person average is 72.4 million BTUs. 48.2% of US electricity comes from coal. Only 3.7% comes from solar, wind, and geothermal. The average U.S. American uses 441 gallons of gas for their car each year... and more...
DECT Phone Safety
 
Radiation from cell phones has been getting a lot of press of late but according to the BioInitiative Report cordless phones look to be just as deadly as cell phones when it comes to brain tumors and acoustic neuromas. DECT technology originated in Europe and has since been widely introduced throughout the world. Today more than 800 million DECT systems are in use. The pulsed frequencies of the radiation used in DECT technology are in the microwave band. The ICNIRP is responsible for monitoring and creating guidelines for radiation technologies. The ICNIRP guidelines focus exclusively on high frequency radiation and thermal activity. But many scientists have been pointing out that pulsed microwaves at low frequencies are also cause for alarm.
BP Oil Spill
 
It is somewhat ironic that an extensive environmental study in the Gulf carried out by the Minerals Management Service, that counted and noted habitat preferences of cetaceans (marine mammals with a blowhole for breathing- including whales, porpoises and dolphins) encountered two species (melon-headed whales and fraser's dolphins) that were rarely seen in the area before... During the study the ship heard and saw numerous sperm whales in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon. There is a native population of about 1400 sperm whales that live in the Gulf of Mexico year round. And scientists say if we lose just a few of them due to this spill, it could dangerously tip their numbers into the negative. See many more photos here- of native cetaceans and the Gulf dilemma....
Is spring arriving earlier?
 
A new study out of the UK, published by the Royal Society, shows that flowers are blooming 2 to 12 days earlier than they did 25 years ago. The study used 400,000 records of first blooms, and looked at over 400 species of flowers. The research showed this pattern of early blooming to be the first in recorded history. The study also showed that a 1 degree Celsius change, over a short two year period, resulted in an earlier flowering time of five days. An earlier British study "Rapid Changes in Flowering Time in British Plants" (Fitter, 2002) showed that 385 plant species bloomed 4 and a half days earlier during the 1990s than the 4 decades prior. And yet another study out of the UK, by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology found that in 2005, species were breeding on average 11.7 days earlier than in 1976. In the U.S....
Organic vegetables start out as seed...
 
For the past year there has been an uproar in the vegetable seed business as Monsanto has purchased Seminis (a seed conglomerate that has 40% of the U.S. vegetable seed market) and De Ruiter Seeds. Monsanto is now in the vegetable seed business for the first time and it's in big time. 55 percent of store bought lettuce, 75 percent of U.S. tomatoes, and 85 percent of peppers now originate through Monsanto's fingers. If you wish to steer clear of purchasing Monsanto seed- you need to do a bit of homework, as even reputable seed companies that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, are still selling Seminis (now Monsanto) seed. Buying seed from a seed exchange, buying open-pollinated and organic are safe ways to avoid Monsanto seed.
State of the Planet
 
Today, during the State of the Planet Conference 2010 at Columbia University, Prince Albert of Monaco, via satellite, expressed "we are at the dawn of major changes." Here in the West, as we wake up to this new day, there is much yawning and shaking away of the slumber... Letting go of 100 years of combustion, and starting a new paradigm, is an awesome challenge for developed nations who are stuck in their vision of fenced in, lawn-covered yards and oil dependent infrastructure.
Old fridge recycled- new fridge rebate...
 
On the government's Energy Star site there's a "Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator". I put in approximate age of fridge, size, type (side-by-side), electricity rate. Hit go. Wow, says this old fridge here in NY costs $410 a year to operate. Says the savings would be $1565 over the next five years if it were replaced by an Energy Star model which would cost a quarter less to operate; $97 a year (v $410) for a similar type fridge. Plus a $105 rebate...
 
Showing 21 - 40 of 49 Articles
< Previous 123 Next >