PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY WITH BETTER WASTE MANAGEMENT
Biodiversity is not just nature and wildlife, but also the small micro-organisms within soil that play a big part in the health of the entire ecosystem. BiobiN South Africa highlights three key actions that businesses and citizens can take to protect biodiversity:
*divert food and organic waste from landfill: South Africa is still very reliant on landfills to dispose of general waste, but with food and organic waste, the best way to divert this stream is to compost it. The technology for this is readily available and the need to extend existing landfill sites can be prevented. As many of them approach capacity, it is necessary to adopt alternative waste treatment technologies and composting units allow a facility to circulate organic waste and create high grade compost.
*recycling carbon through waste: By emulating the natural functioning of an ecosystem, all waste is reused, recycled or recirculated as a resource. Organic waste breaks down and carbon is stored within the soil content. In soil, carbon helps with water retention and soil fertility, and ultimately plant growth. Improved plant growth will convert more atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen. By composting, carbon is restored in soil and healthy soil bodies are crucial in supporting great ecosystems.
*looking after soil 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, however one of them used in excess can run off into waterways and cause algae blooms, a common environmental impact from agricultural fertilisers that adversely impacts local biodiversity, especially in wetlands and rivers. Algae blooms will decrease the level of oxygen in a water body and eliminate the aquatic species that rely on that water source. Using compost, the chances of agricultural run-off from excess nutrients is a less likely occurrence.
BiobiN encourages all businesses to look at how they manage their organic waste stream.