Vermiculture Technology: Reviving the Dreams of Sir Charles Darwin for Scientific Use of Earthworms in Sustainable Development Programs
Abstract, Technology and Investment (Researchgate), 2010
Vermiculture technology is emerging as an “environmentally sustainable”, “economically viable” and “socially acceptable” technology all over the world. 1) Vermi-composting Technology (to manage most organic wastes); 2) Vermi-filtration Technology (to treat municipal & several industrial wastewater); 3) Vermi-remediation Technology (to treat & clean up contaminated lands); 4) Vermi-agro-production Technology (to produce chemical-free organic foods by worms & vermicompost); 5) Vermi-industrial Production Technology (to produce valuable industrial raw materials from worms). The use of earthworms as “waste managers” for efficient “composting of food and farm wastes” and as “soil managers” for “fertility improvement” and enhanced “farm production” were known for ages but now it is being more scientifically and also commercially revived. The other uses of earthworms for the benefits of environment and society (wastewater treatment, land remediation & production of valuable medicines even to combat cancer and heart diseases; raw materials for rubber, lubricant, soap, detergent & cosmetic, industries and protein rich feed materials for fishery, dairy & poultry industries are some “new discoveries”. We have successfully experimented with the first four technologies for management of “municipal solid wastes”, treatment of “municipal & industrial wastewater”, remediation of “PAHs contaminated soils” and production of “wheat & corn crops” by use of vermicompost at Griffith University, Australia, with excellent results. Wastes are degraded by over 75% faster than conventional systems and compost produced are disinfected, detoxified, richer in nutrients & beneficial soil microbes; BOD loads & TSS of wastewater is reduced by over 95%; PAHs from contaminated soils are removed by over 80% in just 12 weeks; and crops growths are promoted by 30-40% higher as compared to chemical fertilizers. Earthworms are both “protective” & “productive” for environment and society.
Keywords: Vermicomposting of Wastes, Vermifiltration of Wastewater, Vermiremediation of Contaminated Lands, Vermi-Agroproduction of Chemical-Free Organic Foods, Vermicompost—a Nutritive Biofertilizer & Soil Conditioners for Farms, Earthworms Biomass—a Valuable Resource for Pharmaceutical & Consumer Industries, Vermiculture—One Time Investment Technology with Valued By-products and End-products