Think Breakfast: The uncertain future of phosphorous

The chemical element phosphorus has a multitude of applications, from manufacturing to humble matches. But did you know phosphorous is actually a vital chemical element for sustaining life on Earth?

Nic was joined by Think: Sustainability producer Jake Morcom to discuss the worrying global depletion of phosphorous. Phosphorus underpins our global food security, enriching our agricultural fertilisers. Nowadays however, humans are depleting phosphorus faster than we’re able to replace it.  Australia imports enormous quantities of phosphate rock due to our low-phosphate soils.  This phosphorous soon leaves the country in the form of agricultural exports, leaving Australia phosphorous poor.

Jake met with leading phosphorous researcher Dr Dana Cordell who explained that just five countries control 90 per cent of remaining high-quality phosphate rock, with Morocco alone controlling three-quarters of the resource. This scarcity is causing serious geopolitical tension in the Western Saharan region, resulting in the phenomenon of “blood phosphates”.

Hear more of this fascinating story on Think:Sustainability.

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