Cleaning up detergents in the Danube



Posted on 31 May 2008  | 
Pesticide spraying of a strawberry field, Spain.
© Michel Gunther / WWF-CanonEnlarge
The excessive nutrients and pollution in the Danube are not only affecting the basin but also the Black Sea into which the Danube spills.

Anthropogenic nutrient loads to the Black Sea over the last 50 years have left a clear mark. Eutrophication is caused by excessive inputs of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus and it is a condition that stimulates the growth of algae leading to imbalance in water systems, such as intense algal blooms, production of excess organic matter causing decreased water transparency, oxygen depletion with resulting dead zones at the sea bottoms as well as death of for example fish.

Today WWF is promoting an EU wide ban on phosphates in all detergents, including for laundry, for dishwashers and for cleaning, for household as well as for commercial use. In practice this means:
  • For laundry detergents a concentration limit of 0.2 % phosphorus (i.e. 0.8 % phosphate)
  • For dishwasher detergents a concentration limit of 0.5 % phosphorus (i.e. 2.0 % phosphate)
Pesticide spraying of a strawberry field, Spain.
© Michel Gunther / WWF-Canon Enlarge

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