Fertiliser run-off - What about it?

April 19, 2019

Fertiliser run-off - What about it?

Fertilisers, though currently essential to Australia's agriculture industry, are being over-used in order to extract as much profit from the land as possible. Excessive consumption results in devastating consequences to our surrounding environments as these often harmful chemicals are carried by runoff into local waterways.

When fertilisers are flushed into a waterway they alter its balance of nutrients. This creates room in an ecosystem for the bloom of a singular species. The species uses the excess of nutrients to reproduce at a rapid rate, disturbing the pre-existing eco-system. These blooms smother organisms through a variety of mechanisms such as reducing light availability - constraining the ability of photosynthesis to occur. This destabilises the entire ecosystem by creating knock on effects up the food chain.

It is clear that the use of fertilisers have negative environmental impacts, but what are the solutions?

  • Organic farming - uses no industrial fertilisers. This would see the health of the soil being a primary focus.
  • Permaculture (permanent agriculture) - setting up land such that crops do not need maintenance once they have been planted.
  • Optimising fertiliser dosing so that plants are not over-supplied
  • Aquaponics - Utilising the waste from fish poo to feed plants that filter water for the fish.
  • Hydroponics - Growing food in water with the use of nutrients. As most parameters can be controlled and kept within an enclosed environment, the resources are well utilised and production is easy to optimise.

 





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