“Phosphor Tailings Pond #4, Near Lakeland, Florida, USA, 2012”
The fertilizers that make our agricultural industry possible are sourced, in large part, from phosphate surface mines. One of the most productive is in central Florida, a short drive from the Magic Kingdom. Thousands of hectares of land have been stripped of vegetation and wildlife to reach the phosphate rock deposits. The process of separating phosphate from clay leaves tailings ponds, which are hospitable to algae and not much else. The Center for Biological Diversity claims that Florida’s fertilizer companies have additionally produced a billion tonnes of radioactive waste, which is stored in sinkhole-prone stacks atop the state’s aquifer.