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Continuous improvement in nitrogen and phosphorus releases

  • In 2013, the chemical and life sciences industry further decreased its impact on the water ecosystems by limiting its nitrogen and phosphorus releases to respectively 810 tonnes and 207 tonnes.
  • This represents respectively about 18% and 34% of total nitrogen and phosphorous releases by all Belgian enterprises.
  • The specific nitrogen and phosphorous discharges continue to decrease slowly and are close to an asymptotic minimum.
  • When water ecosystems are enriched with nitrogen and phosphorus, this triggers unnaturally high rates of plant production (and sometimes proliferation of algae). This results in accumulation of organic matter that can degrade water and habitat quality. This phenomenon is called ‘eutrophication’.
  • One of the main sources of nitrogen emissions in the chemical and life sciences industry is from production of nitrogen-containing organic or inorganic chemicals like fertilizers, aniline (used for the production of polyurethane) and caprolactam (used for the production of nylon).