Saturday, 31 October 2009

EcoSan and the phosphorus crisis

I’ve never thought much about the argument that EcoSan is a good sanitation solution in developing countries because of the impending phosphorus crisis (see here and blog of 20 March 2008). It’s true that the cost of DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) reached an all-time high of USD 1200 per tonne in 2008, but prices are falling back to their pre-peak levels of around USD 320 per t, as shown in the figure below (from here; details also here − the World Bank’s Commodity Price Data for January 2007 − September 2009):

The World Bank projects DAP costs of USD 300 per t in 2010, rising to USD 360 in 2015 and USD 400 in 2020 (details here).

So perhaps all is not as bleak as the EcoSanologists would have us believe. Of course, industrialized countries should use less P than they do at present, but let’s not continue the argument that poor people in developing countries should have expensive EcoSan toilets because of this P crisis.

PS (again): can we please have details, including costs, on the Erdos EcoTown project?