Saturday, August 5, 2006

Hotel pampers worms to cut waste

I've always loved earthworms.   I adore the live ones, cartoon ones and stuffed ones and now I know why.  They're just cute and cool.     Just by living their lives they are great for your garden and the environment as whole.  How many of us can say the same.  plk - Hotel pampers worms to cut waste - Aug 4, 2006
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (Reuters) -- Thousands of earthworms guzzle tons of scrap food left over from the tables of the rich and famous at South Africa's plush Mount Nelson hotel, quietly doing their bit to save the planet.

Cape Town's oldest and most famous hotel -- a pink temple to pampering where visiting celebrities are welcomed by doormen in traditional colonial-era pith helmets -- has its own worm farm to help slash waste and, ultimately, tackle climate change.

The worms are kept out of sight of patrons enjoying the opulent surroundings and gourmet treats, but they bask in pampered luxury in a backroom a short slither from the presidential suite.

Murphy, one of the drivers of the project, said the potential of such projects was huge.

"If we think really big ... if everybody took their organic waste and processed it through vermiculture or worm farms and we stopped organic waste going to landfill sites, it would have a dramatic impact on climate change."   "It's incredible. They reduce waste by 70 percent (and) there is no smell here," she says, wearing an "I dig worms" T-shirt and surrounded by thousands of the munching critters.

The worms neutralize harmful bacteria, such as Ecoli, and produce beneficial bacteria while increasing the levels of nitrogen and potassium in the soil -- elements that help vegetables grow.

Organic waste in rubbish dumps releases carbon dioxide and methane, greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, adding to global warming.  "Methane is particularly bad because it has about 20 times greater affinity for heat than carbon dioxide," said environmental scientist Roger Jacques.

Under the right conditions, two worms can become a million in just one year.



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