Processing clinical wastes? Try a worm farm!

Worm farms are popular, green, low in cost and maintenance, even trendy, but are they suitable for treating for clinical wastes?

Is this a step too far?  Not according to Sarah Heimeier, who is advocating worm farms as a disposal option and potential income stream for some Indian hospitals, to deal with many items of domestic refuse including paper, cardboard, food scraps and blood-soaked cotton bandages.

 

And why not? It is without doubt far better that the current arrangements for waste management in so many Indian hospitals and clinics.

It would be possible to test specifically for the survival of a range of bacterial and viral pathogens in the worm farm residues but that is possibly unnecessary. As a fertiliser, the treatment residues may be used to support food crop growth, but the prospect of transfer of a significant pathogen seems negligible, assuming enteric wastes have been excluded and the worm farm has been successful in processing feedstocks.

 

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