Bug Blog

How Worms Can Improve Our Damaged Ecosystem

In this day in age oil spills seem to occur once every decade or so, and there is little doubt that another disastrous oil spill will occur again in the future. As you can imagine, cleaning up oil spills is a pretty tricky task. There have been a number of scientists and innovators coming forth with proposed solutions, yet thus far there does not seem to be any method of removing oil from the ocean that works as well as we would all like. That is until recently when researchers in South America stumbled upon earthworms as the perfect tool for removing hazardous waste from the environment.

Worms are already well liked by gardeners for their ability to process garden waste and soil. Now a chemist named Lué Merú Marcó Parra from the Universidad Centro Occidental Lisandro Alvarado in Venezuela has discovered an inexpensive method of removing hazardous materials from the environment via earthworms. The team of researchers used compost produced by worms to absorb hazardous heavy metals from wastewater. After that experiment showed success the researchers turned to earthworms with the hopes that they would be able to remove harmful chemicals surrounding landfills. Both experiments were a success as the earthworms removed significant amounts of arsenic and mercury from soil in and around landfills. These worms could result in lives being saved, especially in poor regions around the world where water sources are often contaminated with runoff from nearby landfills.

Do you believe that it is possible to procure enough worms from farming or from the wild to make a significant improvement to the damaged state of our ecosystem?