Vermicomposting- A green enterprise

Swapnali Borah
Environmental degradation is a major threat to our planet and as the result of Green Revolution, uses of chemical fertilizers contributes largely to the deterioration of the environment and many diseases to mankind. Now there is a growing realization that the practices of ecological and sustainable farming can protect the environment from degradation. Vermicomposting is a simple biotechnological process which can be effectively used in agriculture to improve the quality of soil as it improves the nitrate and phosphate level by managing organic waste. At the same time, it is also one of the methods of generating additional good source of income and assuring sustainable livelihood for rural poor specially farmers of hilly region where agricultural field is limited. It is a good and green enterprise at household as well as community level.
·    Vermicomposting is “green”. It does not harm or pollute anything.
·    Recycling the garbage and agricultural waste.
·    It helps reduce the volume of land filled waste and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions & also provides a valuable agronomic resource.
·    Farmers who use vermicompost on their crops reduce the use of chemical fertilizers which are dangerous to soils, crops and human health.
·    It is a source of income for the producers as it can be sold after being properly packaged and labeled.
Vermicomposting is the processing of organic waste through earth worms. It is a natural, odorless, aerobic process, much different from traditional composting. Vermicomposting is the castings of earthworm. Organic waste like kitchen & agricultural waste gets decomposed by micro-organisms and is consumed by earthworms. The casting of these worms are vermicast or popularly known as vermicompost.
1.    Wooden or plastic bin for household level and cement tanks, either single or interconnected for community level.
2.    Garbage or agricultural waste.
3.    Cow dung slurry.
4.    Earthworms (Eisenia foetida or Eudriluseugenae).
5.    Water.
1.    Cover the bottom of the bin or cement tank with coconut hunk or polythene sheet.
2.    Spread 15-20 cm layer of organic waste material (garbage or agricultural waste) on polythene sheet and then sprinkle Cow dung slurry and again organic waste. Fill the bin or tank completely in layers as described. Paste the top of the bin with soil or cow dung. Allow the material to decompose for 12-15 days.
3.    When the heat evolved during the decomposition of the materials has subsided (10-15 days), release selected earthworms through the cracks developed.
 To Be Contd