Household detergents are a key source of phosphorous in our waterways, which scientists suspect is contributing toward destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.
According to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, coral cover at the Great Barrier Reef has declined by a shocking 50% over the past 30 years, and at least half of this is due to factors such as the Crown of Thorns starfish, whose outbreaks are believed to be linked to eutrophication of the water by pollutants such as phosphorous.
But before we get to those depressing facts, be aware that an alternative is available! Forever Living’s MPD (Multi-Purpose Detergent) is biodegradable and phosphorous-FREE which means you can stop contributing to the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and other marine ecosystems!
Plus, since it’s multi-purpose it’s perfect to use for washing dishes by hand, laundering clothes, or cleaning anything from your bathroom to your carpet to your car, which means you can totally eliminate your house of toxic, pollutant cleaning products and simplify your monthly shop by only having to buy one earth-friendly, guilt-free product to clean your entire house!
Now, back to why your everyday cleaning products are destroying the ocean:
How phosphorous detergents kill our oceans
Phosphorous occurs naturally, but when it accumulates in unnaturally high levels in our waterways (due to runoff from farm fertilisers and domestic household sewage), it causes eutrophication. This means the water becomes excessively rich in nutrients – which sounds like a good thing – but it’s not, because it upsets the delicate balance of water quality.
It causes excessive outbreaks of algae, which turns waterways and oceans a putrid green or brown colour, blocks sunlight, and then depletes oxygen in the water as it dies and decays, causing other organisms in the water to suffocate and die.
Chesapeake Bay in the USA is an example where this process is already well advanced. Phosphorous and nitrogen runoff have created marine dead zones, where waters were so depleted of oxygen that they were unable to support life, resulting in massive fish deaths.
Today, Chesapeake Bay’s dead zones are estimated to kill 75,000 tons of bottom-dwelling clams and worms each year, weakening the base of the estuary’s food chain and wiping out many species which depend upon them for food. The loss of aquatic vegetation has also depleted the habitat for much of the bay’s animal life, leaving most of the bay’s bottom as a muddy wasteland.
Can you imagine if that happens to our Great Barrier Reef here in Australia? According to a paper from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), it is already happening.
“Higher concentrations of pollutants such as suspended sediments, nitrogen and phosphorus, may result in more (algae) and less hard coral diversity (at the Great Barrier Reef). Such a shift affects the overall resilience of the ecosystem. The effects of degraded water quality on the Great Barrier Reef include the reduction of hard coral cover at some inshore reefs; the increase of diseases and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks; and a reduced ability for coral reefs to recover from bleaching or crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks.”
Crown-of-thorns starfish eat coral. According to research by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, coral cover on surveyed reefs has declined by about 50 per cent over the past 30 years. Crown-of-thorns starfish were responsible for almost half of this decline. And Crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks are believed to be caused by high phosphorous levels in the water.
According to the BBC, an algal bloom in the Gulf of Oman killed 95% of all coral in a 500 square kilometre area in just 3 weeks in 2010. This resulted in over 70% of fish life dying off too.
Can you imagine if this were to happen to our Great Barrier Reef, or even just part of it?
Decreased visibility and lesser diversity of coral and marine life at some polluted reefs are tragically, already noticeable to those who have been diving and snorkelling there extensively, as I have.
But the wider ecological impacts for our whole earth will be much more serious than just the death of our tourism and fishing industries if we don’t act soon to save the sea, one of our most precious resources.
It’s easy to place most of the blame on agriculture, but according to Mother Earth News, household detergents are a significant source of phosphorous.
“Even if the main source of nutrient phosphorous in rural areas is agricultural runoff, on the average human waste contributes 1.4 pounds per person per year and detergents contribute from 1.5 to 2 pounds of phosphorus per person per year to surface waters. It has been estimated that from 50% to 75% of the phosphorus in lakes and rivers is from detergents. The elimination of this source would bring about an immediate and massive decrease in the rate of eutrophication.
“About 76 per cent of the phosphorus in detergents, 370 million pounds of it, ends up in surface waters, and the problem is getting worse. Not only is the amount of detergent used annually increasing, but the amount of phosphorus in each product is also rising.”
Make the simple change!
Check the label of your laundry and dishwashing detergents now. If they don’t say “phosphorous-free” then throw them away and STOP contributing to the destruction of something you say you love!
Let’s keep the Great Barrier Reef pristine and beautiful for generations to come!
Forever Aloe MPD (Multi-Purpose Detergent) is a versatile cleaning product that is ideal for laundry (all types of clothes), it is also a household cleaner for floors, bathrooms, tile and carpet cleaning, car cleaning, and for hand-washing dishes. This safe, concentrated, liquid detergent is great for lifting grime, cutting through grease and removing stains without scratching or marking any surfaces. It is versatile enough to do the job of many similar products on the market, with a major cost savings for the user.
Forever Aloe MPD® 2X Ultra is phosphorus-free, making it environmentally friendly. Its anionic and non-ionic surfactants are biodegradable, thus reducing environmental and water pollution. Our non-abrasive formula contains mild aloe vera to soften and condition your hands and clothes.