For the upcoming Dutch parliament elections pensions and health insurance are dominant political issues. Also economic growth is a topic, since a faster growing economy results in more money to pay for increasing health care and pension costs.
On the other hand there are limits to economic growth due to environmental issues. For example, at this moment the dairy sector is in crisis because farmers exceed phosphate release limits. The sector even has to shrink due to environmental regulations. These limits are very important, because phosphate may wash out to surface waters, polluting lakes and coastal seas. At the same time, phosphate is an essential nutrient for plant, animal and human life. But reserves are limited, requiring efficient use. A more phosphate-efficient dairy system could therefore be very good for our economy as well as a more sustainable future.
The driving force behind nutrient recovery research at Environmental Technology was emeritus Professor Grietje Zeeman, for whom we held a farewell symposium last October. But despite her retirement our department will continue to work on further developing our phosphate recovery technologies.