India produces around 3000 million tones of organic waste annually.
This huge volume of waste(s) comes from agriculture, urban and
industrial sources and also from domestic activities.
Majority of municipal (urban) solid waste (MSW) is disposed of in
landfills. However, this disposal system is reported to produce
hazardous environmental impacts. Eco-friendly disposal alternatives
to landfills need to be explored. One of the technological options for
treatment and disposal of organic solid wastes is vermicomposting.
It is an effective recycling technology that improves the quality of the
products which is disinfected, detoxified, and highly nutritive.
Vermiculture not only results in management of solid waste but also
produces excellent nutrient enriched vermicompost. Vermicompost is
beneficial for sustainable organic agriculture and maintaining
Vermicompost is the product of the decomposition process using
various species of worms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable
or food waste, bedding materials. This process is called
These organic wastes when applied directly to agricultural fields cause
soil environment-related problems including phytotoxicity.
Vermicomposting is one of the most efficient means to mitigate and
manage environmental pollution problems.
Vermicompost is more rich in micronutrients and beneficial soil
vermicompost is considered an ideal manure for organic agriculture as it
is nutrient rich and contains high quality humus, plant growth hormones,
enzymes, and substances that are able to protect crops against pests and
Species of earthworms used in vermicomposting are
Eisenia foetida (Red earthworm), Eudrilus eugeniae
(night crawler), Perionryx excavatus etc.
Red earthworm is preferred because of its high
multiplication rate and thereby converts the organic
matter into vermicompost within 45-50 days.
Since it is a surface feeder it converts organic
materials into vermicompost from top.
Bin composting: The most common method for small scale
composting is bin composting method. The bin can be constructed
of several materials such as wooden/plastic/recycled containers like
bathtubs and barrels.
Pit composting: For large scale composting, pits of sizes
2.5 m × 1 m × 0.3 m under thatched sheds with sides left open are
advisable. The bottom and sides of the pit should be made hard
with a wooden mallet.
Pile composting: Pile method is mostly used for vermicomposting
in larger scale. The piles can be made in porch place like
greenhouse or in a floor with some facilities for drainage in warm
climate. The pile size may vary in length and width, however, its
height is average height of bin used for bin composting.
1. To prepare compost, either a plastic or a concrete tank can be used.
2. Collect the biomass and place it under the sun. Chop it to the required size
using the cutter.
3. Prepare a cow dung slurry and sprinkle it on the heap for quick
4. Add a layer (2 – 3 inch) of soil or sand at the bottom of the tank.
5. Prepare fine bedding by adding partially decomposed cow dung, dried
leaves and other biodegradable wastes collected from fields and kitchen.
Distribute them evenly on the sand layer.
6. Continue adding both the chopped bio-waste and partially decomposed cow
dung layer-wise into the tank up to a depth of 0.5- 1.0 ft.
7. After adding all the bio-wastes, release the earthworm species over the
mixture and cover the compost mixture with dry straw or gunny bags.
8. Sprinkle water on a regular basis to maintain the moisture content of the
9. Cover the tank with a thatch roof to prevent the entry of ants, lizards,
mouse, snakes, etc. and protect the compost from rainwater and direct
10. Have a frequent check to avoid the compost from overheating. Maintain
proper moisture and temperature
9. VERMICOMPOSTING PRODUCTS
Earthworms: Different quantities of earthworms have been inoculated in different organic wastes and the
earthworm response in terms of growth and reproduction rate has been monitored.
The earthworm growth rate during vermicomposting is calculated according to Equation:
The earthworm biomass gained per unit feed mixture (mg/g) is calculated according to Equation:
10. The earthworm reproduction rate is calculated according to Equation:
Vermicompost: Vermicompost is an odourless, dark brown bio-fertilizer obtained from
the process of vermicomposting. The quality of the vermicompost is measured
by the vermicompost biodegradability coefficient (Kb).
1. Develops roots of the plants.
2. Improves the physical structure of the soil.
3. Vermicomposting increases the fertility and water-resistance of the soil.
4. Helps in germination, plant growth, and crop yield.
5. Nurtures soil with plant growth hormones such as auxins, gibberellic acid.
To preserve the agro-ecosystem and protect human
health from the harmful chemical fertilizers
‘Ecological Agriculture and Organic Farming’ has to
be promoted as the new emerging concept of “Organic
Farming” focuses mainly on production of chemical
Organic farming with use of organic fertilizers like
“vermicompost” could substitute the chemical
fertilizers and can reduce the economic cost and may
also lead to organic products which fetches higher
price in the market.
M.Manyuchi., A.Phiri., " Vermicomposting in Solid Waste Management: A
Review ", International Journal of Scientific Engineering and Technology Volume No.2,
Issue No.12, pp : 1234-1242.