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Farmers well-aware of the environmental damage caused by pig slurry

tractorplougingPortugal’s pig farmers are fully aware of the problems their porkers create, with the resulting effluent having an uncanny way of finding its way into the country’s rivers and over-powering waste water treatment plants.
The sector is looking for sustainable, practical solutions to overcome existing environmental problems and want to look at safe ways of using pig effluent as an agricultural fertiliser to take the pressure off treatment plants and help clean up affected rivers.
Vítor Menino, the president of the Portuguese Federation of Pig Associations (FPAS) said that one of the sectors' goals is a review of all the current laws as the ministries of the environment and of agriculture often are acting in opposition to each other.
Menino said the best way forward is to treat pig effluent as an agricultural resource and look at ways of using it as fertiliser, adding that this is exactly what the General Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development sees as the way forward.
According to Menino, the Portuguese Environment Agency "understands that the current solution involves the construction of more treatment plants, but that solution is more expensive, less efficient and possibly more aggressive to the environment."
According to the Federation’s experts, pig effluent can be used as a resource for "improving water retention capacity in soils, fertilising crops and reducing expenditure on bought-in fertilisers."
For years, pig farms have been identified as sources of river pollution, with the Environment Ministry insisting that Wastewater Treatment Plants can overcome the problem.
Even for the new treatment plant alongside the Arade river near Portimão, the head of Águas do Algarve, Joaquim Peres, admitted that problems caused by pig effluent in the river will not be resolved when the facility opens on March 7th.
‘Pig farms and the environment’ is the theme of a seminar in Oeiras this Wednesday at which experts from Denmark, Spain and France will reveal the latest best practices.
The sector's concern, says Vítor Menino, is to create environmentally sustainable solutions for pig farming and try and find a way that keeps the ministries of the environment and agriculture in agreement.
"We are available to contribute to a more effective effluent management and we want to seek consensus solutions, it does not seem to us that a solution involving more waste water treatment plants can be a solution for the country," said Menino.
The sector has 2,500 industrial pig farms and turns over €600 million-a-year.
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0 #1 liveaboard 2018-02-28 10:48
The Netherlands uses it as fertilizer, but it's tricky; there has to be strict limits on the amount spread per hectare or bad things happen.
If done right, it's actually quite ok from both economic and ecological perspectives.
However, it has an extremely unpleasant odor to the human nose.