Living with Danger

An investigation of phosphogypsum pollution in the phosphate fertiliser industry, Sichuan province

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Publication - 2013-04-02
China is the world’s largest phosphate fertilizer producer. In its current state it is at serious overcapacity. By the end of 2011 this colossal phosphate fertilizer industry has left the country with 300 million tons of phosphogypsum, an industrial by-product that contains a variety of harmful chemicals.

China is the world's largest phosphate fertilizer producer. In its current state it is at serious overcapacity. By the end of 2011 this colossal phosphate fertilizer industry has left the country with 300 million tons of phosphogypsum, an industrial by-product that contains a variety of harmful chemicals. Such solid waste, which is large in quantity and difficult to be re-utilized, has been causing long-term pollution problems in Sichuan, Yunnan, Hubei and other provinces, where the phosphate industry is concentrated.

Beginning in May 2012, Greenpeace East Asia spent several months sampling and testing the phosphogypsum disposed by five large-scale phosphorus chemical enterprises in the cities of Shifang and Mianzhu, Sichuan Province. Laboratory test results show that all the sampled phosphogypsum leaching solution contains a variety of harmful chemical substances; more than a third of the phosphogypsum samples can be categorized as hazardous solid waste for their excessive fluoride levels; and the disposal and management of the slag heaps containing such hazardous solid waste fail to meet national standards.

Greenpeace East Asia calls on relevant government departments to take immediate measures for more stringent control over phosphorus chemical pollutants, to reduce the excess capacity of the phosphate fertilizer industry.

Download the report: Living with Danger.

Living with Danger

Living with Danger

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