Worms eat human manure and can help in this way to reduce the pressure on municipal water cleaning plants.
According to a report from Ron Fleming and Marcy Ford from the University of Guelph
1 human being produces on average per day 160 g of total solids (human manure) which will be flushed away and diluted by more than 220 L / 58 Gallons (US) of waste water (Find a link to the full report at the links section at the bottom of this page). Taking into account the billions of people that are connected to flushing toilet systems this adds up to an enormous amount of valuable freshwater that is sent down the drain and contaminated with our digestive waste products. Nearly all this water needs to be cleaned again at increasing costs to be usable as drinking water again. This amounts to more than 80000 L / 21000 Gallons (US) of waste water produced by a single human being just to get rid of his / her excrement's. Taking into consideration that less than 1% of all the water on our planet is freshwater that could potentially be used to quench the thirst of humans, animals and all the flora of the earth, this seems like an unbelievable waste of this lifesaving natural resource!
So what can be done? A shift away from the water flushing toilet system that is practiced in wide parts of the world in favor of compost toilets would be of great help and a step in the right direction. There are many different kinds of water-less toilets available on the market and in many of them worms can take a vital part.
Earthworms / compost worms are amazing creatures. They basically live of any organic matter that is starting to decompose. So if they are offered human excrement's as a food source they will gladly devour it. Worms eat human manure digest it and convert the remaining materials into their own waste called worm castings. Worm castings are among the best and well balanced natural plant foods known to man. They can store large amounts of moisture, release their nutrients that are directly usable as plant food only when the plants need them. A piece of worm castings the size of a golf ball can feed an average potted plant for up to six month.
Compost worms can eat more than half their body weight every single day
which means that just 24000 worms that can be kept in an area less than 4
square meters / 44 square feet could compost and recycle more than 1000
kg / 2200 pounds of human manure per year without the need of added
water in the process. This means that the above mentioned 24000 worms
could recycle the feces of more than 17 human beings which would prevent
a staggering 1365100 L / 360621 Gallons (US) of fresh water being
contaminated and flushed down the drain in a single year!!!
It's easy and affordable to start a worm farm. Worms eat human manure but will gladly feed as well on a wide variety of kitchen- and garden waste as well on dog poop, old newspapers, unwanted advertising flyers and cardboard boxes. Worm farms don't produce bad odors are easy to maintain and can even bring in some additional income and the starting point to a new home business venture!
In my opinion these numbers speak for themselves. What's stopping more of us to introduce worm driven compost toilet systems into our homes?
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