The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has condemned Germany for its violations of European Nitrates Directive for protection of waters. Due to too much slurry, digestate from biogas plants and mineral fertilizers in agriculture, nitrate levels in surface waters and groundwater are so high. Germany is now threatening not only fines in billions, it is also a duty to reduce quantities. This requires support of politicians and farmers – but will is lacking.
Three days before verdict, German Peasants ' Association (DBV) in a press release tried to appease. The argument: The conviction refers only to old fertilizer law. Thus, 2017 reformed fertilizer law is a radical improvement, "with which Germany is well positioned in sense of water protection", as DBV thinks.
This, however, doubts Kiel Professor Friedhelm Tauber. On behalf of Federal Association of Energy and Water management, he has developed a detailed study on new fertilizer. The result is devastating: pigeon criticizes inefficiency and complexity of new law and speaks of policy failure. Obviously, in drafting of law, "non-scientific evidence and challenges of EU environmental legislation were guiding principles, but certain interests of agricultural profession".Nitrate levels could continue to rise on a large scale Gunr Wang freelance author for time online to author page
The actual effects of right of 2017 have not yet been established, since it may take years for nitrate concentrations in groundwater to sink. Pigeon, however, is even expecting that values of "large areas, especially in already polluted regions, will continue to rise". Bad news. Because an excessive amount of nitrate acts as a poison in rivers, streams and lakes. Through overfertilization, algae and or aquatic plants shoot into herb. The decomposition of plant material consumes a lot of oxygen, which is n absent from or aquatic organisms. Only recently, after a few warm weeks in May, consequences have again appeared in many places, as, for example, in port of Hamburg, Fish died due to lack of oxygen.
The fact that DBV claims that new law would solve problem shows fundamental problem: one does not want to accept that changes in usual economy are necessary. Many farmers and politicians lack will to work actively to improve situation. Environmentally friendly specifications are misunderstood as harassment and attack on profession. Instead of shaping, one refuses. This is detrimental not only to environment, but also to all those who are already doing a particularly responsible and environmentally conscious business today. And that is by far not just organic and farmers.
Where problems lie and what to do, has long been known and scientifically well studied. Read about in various publications of environmental agency. An obvious and easy-to-implement emergency measure for water protection would be, for example, strict specification and control of a so-called water randstreifens, i.e. a minimum distance to shore during fertilizer deployment. The Confederation calls for a nationwide minimum distance of ten metres. The new Fertilizer Ordinance contains corresponding restrictions but only for particularly steep shore areas.Date Of Update: 22 June 2018, 12:02