Tuesday, June 7, 2011

‘Turn rotting fish into sweet-smelling fertilizer’

INSTEAD of burying the rotting fish in Batangas and Pangasinan, a local waste and pollution watchdog suggested that the hundreds of tons of bangus be turned into organic fertilizers.

The EcoWaste Coalition (EcoWaste) said the rotting bangus, that the national and local governments have difficulty disposing could be converted into sweet-smelling, nutrient-rich fertilizers farmers need to boost plant growth and yield.

“We’re confident that the country’s agriculture experts would be able to guide local governments in selecting the most suitable composting system for the enormous fishkill discards, including botcha fish seized from traders,” he added.

According to a June 4 update by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), a total of 108 fish cages were affected by the fishkill in barangays Catubig and Culang, in Bolinao and in barangays Awag, Mal-ong, Narra and Siapar in Anda, all in Pangasinan, with losses estimated at P 40,710,300.00.

The NDRMMC also reported that 360 fish cages were affected in the towns of Agoncillo, Laurel, San Nicolas and Talisay, all in Batangas, and in the open waters of Alitagtag, Cuenca and Santa Teresita, all in Batangas, with approximate losses up to P142,530,000.00.

Fishkill episodes were also detected on Sunday in Lipa City and Mataas na Kahoy, also in Batangas.

Citing information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the EcoWaste Coalition said windrow composting may provide an effective option for the disposal of large numbers of dead fish.

Windrow composting is a method characterized by the piling of biodegradable discards, such as garden and farm waste and animal manure, in long rows or windrows.

According to the USGS biological information and technology notes, windrow composting offers several advantages, including the ability to dispose all the dead fish at once, contain carcasses and pathogens, and avoid the production of leachate.

“A large-scale composting operation that is properly designed and managed provides an excellent waste management alternative to traditional waste disposal,” the USGS said.

“The finished compost is an excellent source of nitrogen that is immediately available to crops, providing additional benefits,” it added.


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