Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP.

While phosphorous is key to boosting plant growth (and lowering the cost of food production), its use in the masses is polluting our soil and water, reports NPR.

A key component in industrial fertilizer, phosphorous is applied in large concentrations to entire regions to not just produce the fruits, veggies and grains that we eat, but also to grow the feed for livestock. And this is where things get even scarier: grown with copious amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen, the livestock feed and its nutrients become articulated into the flesh of the livestock, as well as pass through into the animals’ waste, where they build up in the soils surrounding animal-producing regions. Ecological disaster then ensues as storm water washes these high concentrations of nutrients into our streams, lakes and estuaries.

Read more here.

Courtney Quirin

Courtney Quirin is a trained wildlife ecologist turned environmental journalist with a knack for photography and visual storytelling. Though her interests span many topics and disciplines, she's particularly...

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