INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
There are many reasons why biodiversity is important. A healthy environment and rich biodiversity support the natural water cycle, help with food production and recycles the air. Biodiversity is not just wildlife and nature, it is also the small micro-organisms within soil that play a part in the health of entire ecosystems.
The International Day for Biological Diversity took place on 22 May 2021 and focused on generating awareness around the importance of biodiversity management.
BiobiN South Africa gives three reasons why composting food waste is a great solution to conserving biodiversity:
keeping food waste out of landfill: out of all the waste streams that go to landfill, food waste is the most detrimental to the environment and surrounding biodiversity. Organic components biodegrade, releasing odours and leachate. As many of South Africa’s landfill sites approach capacity, waste diversion technologies need to be adopted. This includes large scale commercial composting units to avoid having to clear more land for landfill space.
recycling carbon through waste: By composting food and organic waste, one is essentially recycling carbon, one of the most important elements for life, with oxygen. Organic waste breaks down and carbon is stored within the soil content. In soil, carbon helps with water retention, soil fertility and ultimately plant growth. Improved plant growth and health will convert more atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen. Landfill sites are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses, specifically methane, and by keeping organic waste out of landfills, this contribution towards global warming and climate change can be slowed down, as they are two major threats to biodiversity.
providing soils with essential nutrients: Food waste is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, three elements that promote healthy plant growth. Most synthetic fertilisers contain these three elements but they can cause runoff into waterways, leading to algae blooms that adversely impact on biodiversity, especially in wetlands and rivers. The blooms decrease the level of oxygen in water bodies and eliminate aquatic species that rely on that water source. Using compost, the chances of agricultural run-off from excess nutrients is a less likely occurrence.
Alternative waste technology needs to be more widely adopted and on-site composting is an effective, clean and odour-free method of disposing of organic waste, resulting in less waste going to landfill.