February 25, 2021

We need phosphate to grow food. But should we be digging it up from the sea floor?

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Biologist Jeanneht Armendáriz Villegas of Baja’s Instituto Politécnico Nacional, who studies mines in protected areas, says there are a lot of unknowns about drilling underwater, but some things are understood.

Phosphorous deposits often come with dangerous contaminants like uranium and cadmium, Armendáriz says. Plumes generated from dredging can affect whole aquatic ecosystems.