The role of termites in the composting of domestic refuse from U.S.T. Campus

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Refuse was collected in bags from U.S.T. community and composted in two types of pits, the control and the experimental pits. The experimental pit was seeded with termites, whereas the control pit was without termites. The quality of compost and the rate of corn posting were then compared between the two pits. The quality of compost was evaluated by determining in every two weeks the concentrations of moisture, ash, organic matter, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium of the compost. The rate of composting was also assessed by determining the rate of reduction of composting materials. This was done by measuring the volume of refuse materials every two weeks. The results obtained indicated that the compost in the control pit significantly contained higher values of the nutrients mentioned above than that of the experimental pit. However, the rate of composting was found to be higher in the experimental pit was compared to the control pit. These results could partly he attributed to the activities of termites which were present only in the experimental pit during the processing period. In view of such results, it could be concluded that termite involvement with composting accelerates the process but does not lead to better compost production. it could therefore he recommended that termites he used to accelerate the decomposition of refuse materials as a way of finding a lasting solution to the refuse disposal problems persisting in our communities. However, the number of termites in the refuse heap meant to produce compost to serve as alternative source of fertilizer should he controlled.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science, 1999