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Ecologist November 1970
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The Ecologist November 1970: Fertility or Pollution

Anna Sheldrick

9th November, 2010

Forty years ago after Lawrence Hills wrote ‘Fertility or Pollution’ the use and disposal of sewage is still a problem but things are starting to look up

Today sewage pollution is still a problem but it does not cripple us as badly as it used to. When Lawrence Hills wrote his article almost every estuary in Britain was heavily polluted and over 200 holiday resorts had beaches covered in waste.

He suggested that instead sewage should be turned into liquid sludge and used as an alternative to manufactured fertiliser in a bid to reduce pollution. The alternative destination for sewage was dumping at sea, landfill or incineration. At the time, the Ecologist felt so strongly about this topic that they sent a copy of the article to all MPs and local authorities.

The EU has encouraged the use of sludge over the last 20 years and has since introduced certain directives to regulate it. Although the use of sewage sludge as a fertiliser has become more popular, there is now increasing pressure to ban the use of the sludge as a fertiliser.

The issue also featured an article about living with gorillas in captivity. John Aspinall brought a herd of lowland gorillas to what is now Howletts Wild Animal Park, in Kent, to study and breed in captivity. The gorillas are doing well and Howletts’ herd has since grown from 8 to 74 gorillas.

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