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Earthworms may help dealing with the trash

TWO families from the Dianshanhu Lake Area in Qingpu District will raise earthworms as part of a pilot project launched by a local environmental protection organization.

Under the right conditions, 1 kilogram of earthworms can eat up to 1 kilogram of kitchen garbage every day and produce about half a kilogram of earthworm waste, which can be used as fertilizer. The pilot program aims to promote worm farms as an effective way to cut down kitchen waste in the city.

Similar trials in Beijing are under way. The local scheme is being promoted by the Shanghai Green Oasis Ecological Conservation and Communication Center and the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

The staff of the Shanghai Green Oasis Ecological Conservation and Communication Center have kept earthworms in their office for more than a year. They raise the earthworms in large plastic storage cases and feed them fruit skins and food leftovers.

Staff at the center said the digestive system of an earthworm contains various types of enzyme that are able to break down waste and even dispose of some toxic substances, such as heavy metals.

"Three or four families have applied to take part in the pilot scheme, but our experts haven't been in touch them yet," said a staff member at the center surnamed Chen, "We are going to select two families and the trial will begin in mid-May. We hope one day every family can raise earthworms in their home."


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