BAGUIO CITY – A vermicomposting facility was inaugurated on February 5, 2016 at the Fort Del Pilar Elementary School. This was built through the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer of the Emerald Small-Scale Miners Association Mr. Leoncio Na-oy in consultation with the school head, teachers and Public Schools District Supervisor (PSDS) Dr. Julia Ladiong who happen to be the former principal of the school. Materials used in the construction of the vermicomposting facility were provided by Mr. Leoncio Naoy. The Parents – Teachers’ Association president who is a skilled carpenter led the construction of the said facility with the help of the school watchmen Mr. Roger Dangsian , Mr. Conchito Tanan and other PTA officers. Nancy Bango, the coordinator for the Clean and Green program of the school had been monitoring the construction of the said facility so that the planned size, design and site had been considered.
This facility was built with the hope of modelling one way of reducing biodegradable wastes which could be derived from the elementary and secondary school canteens and home economics waste materials and from the community through vermicomposting. Further, vermicast, vermitea and vermi will also be derived from vermicomposting and can be a source of income for the school’s feeding program aside from producing high grade organic fertilizer which will be used in the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program of the school.
Vermicomposting is a simple biotechnological process of composting, in which certain species of earthworms are used to enhance the process of waste conversion and produce a better end product. Vermicomposting differs from composting in several ways (Gandhi et al. 1997). It is a mesophilic process, utilizing microorganisms and earthworms that are active at 10–32°C (not ambient temperature but temperature within the pile of moist organic material). The process is faster than composting; because the material passes through the earthworm gut, a significant but not yet fully understood transformation takes place, whereby the resulting earthworm castings (worm manure) are rich in microbial activity and plant growth regulators, and fortified with pest repellence attributes as well! In short, earthworms, through a type of biological alchemy, are capable of transforming garbage into ‘gold’ (Vermi Co 2001, Tara Crescent 2003).
Earthworms consume various organic wastes and reduce the volume by 40–60%. Each earthworm weighs about 0.5 to 0.6 g, eats waste equivalent to its body weight and produces cast equivalent to about 50% of the waste it consumes in a day. These worm castings have been analyzed for chemical and biological properties. The moisture content of castings ranges between 32 and 66% and the pH is around 7.0. The worm castings contain higher percentage (nearly twofold) of both macro and micronutrients than the garden compost.
To all who helped in the realization of the project, thank you very much.
By: AMALIA K. MICKLAY