South Africa implicated in ‘phosphorus cartel’

25 August 2011

Recently there have been some curious and difficult to explain issues around South African government and industrial attitudes towards phosphorus.  An American scientist may have insight that we don’t (yet).

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, August 25, 2011 — Phosphorus recovery and algal blooms, a mobile phone water quality tester and improving water usage in the food and drink supply chain have all been topics which helped to secure water prizes at the World Water Week.

This week has seen  Professor Steven Carpenter from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the U.S. scooping the Stockholm Water Prize for his work on trophic cascades and also Nestlé taking the Industry Award for improving water management in its international operations.

During the opening ceremony of the World Water Week, discussing causes of eutrophication, Carpenter said: “Phosphorus is the magical element of eutrophication. We often hear about the modification of carbon and how this is related to climate change but we have actually tripled the cycle of phosphorus.”

During an interview with Water & Wastewater International magazine he said: “Phosphorus is controlled by a small number of countries – the U.S., China, Morocco, South Africa. In essence, they could function like a phosphorus cartel as OPEC [Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] functions for petroleum.

Curiouser and curiouser, as the cat said…



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