Californian Worms Eat Dollars in Irkutsk. They Are Hungry

Several years ago management of the Irkutsk dump polygon spent about 2.5 thousand dollars for purchase of so-called Californian worms. At that, each worm cost 6 dollars. These worms were meant for turning household rubbish into biological component that could be used in agriculture. Unfortunately, almost all worms died away in the dump this winter.

The Californian worms lived in Irkutsk for six years. As it was calculated, the investment at the rate of 2.5 thousand dollars would be profitable. The worms were to eat organic household rubbish that is usually abundant at municipal dumps. Instead, they would produce fertilizer, biological humus, that is very important for agriculture. Californian worms may eat household rubbish and even paper, but it was noticed that they like bananas most of all. Besides, Californian worms are undemanding and breed very well.

Four hundred worms had been bought at first, specialists say that further the worms bred up to 300 thousand. But crisis that affected the whole of the country also affected the life at the dump. “Some time ago rotten apples and bananas were dumped there, which was certainly favorable for humus production. But now only domestic rubbish is delivered to the dump, the worms don’t have enough food and disappear,” biotechnologists working on the problem of biological humus production explain.

Another reason explaining why Californian worms, special earthworms for compost (Elsenia Fetida) disappear are rats. Rats living at a dump in the Russian city of Irkutsk are very hungry and they eat special worms bought especially for turning organic household rubbish into compost. Other biotechnoligists working on the problem of compost production say that Californian worms may disappear because the territory of the dump is too arid.

Indeed, it is very arid and unusually cold at the dump. When it was decided to buy Californian worms, these factors were not taken into consideration. This winter producers of biological fertilizer died away completely.

Biotechnologist Sergey Soldatov has been breeding useful invertebrates for about ten years already. He dreams of construction of an enterprise for household rubbish processing in the city if Irkutsk. He thinks that this enterprise may return much interest to the local budget. One ton of biological humus costs about 500 dollars in Europe. But at first, 3.5 million dollars are to be invested in production of humus; however, not a single kopeck has been invested yet.

Tatyana Klimova TRK Baikal

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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