Thiruvananthapuram, May 12: An innovative bio-waste management system wholly powered by earthworm activity provides an eco-friendly, low-cost alternative to both traditional landfill disposal and expensive waste treatment methods.
What’s more, the system – designed by Habitat Technology Group and showcased at the ongoing HabFest-30 exhibition in Poojappura ground here – allows households to potentially recoup installation expenses within a year and, from then on, even turn a profit.
Housed in a concrete ring-shaped structure, the ground-level system features four hollow chambers separated from each other by partition walls. The base slopes toward a central chamber, which serves as the collection point for the liquid run-off from the degradation process as transferred through small culverts in the surrounding walls.
“Three of the chambers can be filled with all kinds of bio-degradable organic waste while the fourth is where the earth and worms are deposited. These will make their way to the waste in the adjoining chambers through holes in the dividers,” said T.P. Madhu, a senior consultant at Habitat, which offers the system as part of their green architecture portfolio.
Once they are finished breaking down the waste in one chamber, they move on to the next. The low energy input requirements allows the cycle to be repeated over and over – provided the pH, moisture and temperature levels stay within the worms’ tolerance range and the system is sufficiently aerated.
“The worms need no added solution and there is no lingering smell. The broken down waste can be used as compost while the collected liquid can be piped out of the central chamber, diluted with water and used for irrigation,” Madhu said.
“It can even be bottled and sold. About 100 ml of the liquid can fetch Rs 100 after it has been treated with water. In this manner, owners can recover the money spent on installing the system – typically Rs 1,300-1,400 – within a year,” he added.
While a light tarp protects the open structure from environmental variances while keeping it airy, the foundation is similar to the concrete slabs used for septic tanks. A circular channel surrounding the system is filled with water to protect it from insects. For increased capacity, an additional ring may be placed on top the base ring.
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