Urbanization has created many opportunities for people and workers of various class moves to Cities in search of jobs. The growth of population in cities has lead to many environmental problems such as noise pollution, light pollution, solid waste disposal, water pollution and many more. All the major cities across globe are finding difficult to cope up with increased Solid waste and are spending huge money on Solid Waste management.
One of the effective ways of solid waste management is to decrease the amount of waste generated at source and to recycle them as much as possible. The major class of solid waste generated from cities is organic matter in the form of fallen leaves, gardens, from kitchen activities etc. These wastes if left untreated, leads to environment pollution making the place unfit for leaving. The easiest way of managing the organic wastes generated from cities is by controlled decomposition and converting them into manure by using Earthworms "the farmer friends".
Long since Earthworms are known to improve the soil fertility by converting the organic wastes in fields into nutritive manure, which plants can absorbs readily. Different species of earthworms are used for vermicompost; for the purpose of fast turnaround of organic solid waste into fertilizer, red wigglers (Eisenia andrei or E. foetida) a class of non-burrowing type is most effective. The non burrowing worms eats less soil and more organic waste, hence are very useful in converting huge masses of urban waste into manure in less time. Earthworm's excreta are called vermicompost and are very valuable eco friendly fertilizer for plants. Earthworms consume organic wastes equal to its body mass and it generates casting amounting half of the consumed food per day. These casts are rich in moisture and in various micro and macro nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Iron and Manganese. Vermicompost contains majority of nutrients required by plants in readily soluble form and hence enhances the growth of plants when compared to artificial fertilizer. Vermicompost application in the agricultural field has enhanced the crop production in different segments such as vegetable, fruits, flowers, cereals and pulses. Vermicompost is not only benefit for plants, it also increases the fertility of soil and increase crop resistance to pests. Application of vermicompost to soil, results in the improved soil texture with good air water balance and increased water holding capacity. Further, the earthworms multiplied during the process of vermicompost can be used in other associated field of agriculture such as Fisheries and Poultry farming. Earthworms can be used as food for both fishes and domesticated birds.
Vermicomposting technique converts urban organic waste into compost manure in one to two months depending on the composition of organic waste. The vermicompost has a high value in the agriculture and has huge demand in organic farming. With vermicomposting technology, not only the city's organic waste can be reduced but also generates a high value eco friendly fertilizer, which can be commercialized. Various types of vermicomposting techniques can be applied depending on the availability of space. Pit method done in open field is the best suitable method for municipal organic waste when compared with Tank method which can be applied for small group of houses or colonies.
The safe disposal of organic waste is the current problem across the global urban localities. Natural decomposition of organic waste is a time consuming process and leads to other problems including environmental pollution. The accelerated humification of organic waste with less cost is the need of the hour and vermicomposting technology using earthworm is the solution for the current urban organic waste. The converted urban waste through vermicompost technology results in good humus, which is highly valued material fulfilling the major nutritional need of plants. The proper utilization of vermicompost technology for urban organic waste management results in several benefit such as employment, environmentally friendly fertilizer for farmers and improvement in countries economy with more crop yield and improved per capita income of the farmers. Finally, not only reducing the environmental contamination by organic municipal waste, the vermicompost technology will reduce the harmful side effects to environment by the application of chemical fertilizer to agricultural field. Vermicomposting technology can be done at different levels, starting at the individual houses, apartments, colonies etc., which when combined together can drastically reduce the urban organic waste generation and will go a long way in Urban Solid Waste Management.
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An enthuiastic author from India