Sunday, June 5, 2011


After it goes down, what happens next?

 Many people probably don’t think about what happens to human waste when it gets flushed down the toilet.  It’s not the most current topic, and frankly, not one that many people find pleasure in talking about.  After being flushed down, human waste can be treated in a wastewater sewage facility and used for various agricultural activities such as:  for a fertilizer and for compost, i.e. it forms “biosolids”.  I know what you’re thinking, EW!  Why should my community invest in that?  Upon investigation, I’ve found that biosolids are very helpful.  Here’s why…

Shedding Some Light on Biosolids

Schematic illustration of a typical wastewater treatment process.
Biosolids contain micro-nutrients such as:  copper, phosphorus, iron, and zinc which are essential for healthy growth.  Biosolids are very useful as a fertilizer because they:  “reduce the need for regular fertilizers, reduce production costs, improve soil fertility, enhance soil structure, add organic matter that maintains good soil tilth and reduce soil erosion and runoff.”[1]  As you can see, biosolids are very good for plant growth.
Now that recently we are very conscious about the environment, it’s a huge upside that recycling biosolids helps promote this. Human wastes dumped in the ocean causes the reduction of oxygen in water due to the presence of nitrogen and amino acids.  This is bad for all marine life and algae are over-produced.  Also, recycling biosolids reduces the amount of human wastes in landfills which is great because less land is being wasted for landfills.     

If you’re worried about how healthy biosolids are, don’t, because they’ve been tested numerous times and are proven to be 100% safe and reliable.  They undergo rigorous treatments and are made sure to meet standards of Ontario’s Ministry of Environment.  In fact, in Ontario they’ve been used since the 1970s.  Because they’re so successful they have caught on globally as being noted for relizbility. 
Now don’t be afraid to ask the question you’ve to, the answer is, yes, they smell.  However, odour is reduced because biosolids are treated in anaerobic conditions (conditions with no air), so there are slight traces of smells.  Plus, odour is further reduced because of they are injected very deep into the field.  Biosolids can contain pollutants, but that only depends on what the everyday citizen drops down the drain.  When there’s less paint and biohazardous chemicals in the sewage, there are fewer pollutants in biosolids. 

This also brings us to another bonus of biosolids, there’s less fertilizer being used.  Fertilizer is good for plants, when used in moderation.  Fertilizers contain harmful elements that cause excess plant growth, and can harm humans over time when washed down sewages on rainy days.  Fertilizers also, like human wastes, minimize oxygen in the ocean therefore increasing algae growth and it can kill marine life.     

Royal Flush
As you can see, biosolids are very good for plants and can be an effective replacement for fertilizer.  So next time, don’t be afraid, BE PROUD!  FLUSH IT DOWN, knowing that you’re doing a good thing, and you’ve just helped make the environment a little healthier, and a plant, a little greener. 

-    "Sewage Biosolids: A Valuable Nutrient Source." Ontario: Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Ontario; Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 07 Apr 2011. Web. 5 Jun 2011. <>.
-    "The Calgro Program - FAQ." The City of Calgary. The Calgro Program, 12 Nov 2010. Web. 5 Jun 2011. <;/>.
-    "FAQ." BioTech Agronomics. BioTech Agronomics, National Biosolids Partnership, 2006. Web. 5 Jun 2011. <>.
-    Bailey, Kenny. "Environmental Concerns With Fertilizer Use." NC State University; The Fertilizer Zone . NC State University, 25 Mar 1999. Web. 5 Jun 2011. <>.
-    Renner, Rebecca. "Sewage Sludge Pros and Cons.", 24 Oct 2000. Web. 5 Jun 2011.


* 500 words without titles exactly!*

Blogs I commented on:

[1] "Sewage Biosolids: A Valuable Nutrient Source." Ontario: Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Ontario; Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 07 Apr 2011. Web. 5 Jun 2011.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Harder Economic Times, Greater Problems with Biodiversity Arise

Food For Thought


Ever questioned the viability of your food?  Where is this grown?  How?  Is it safe?  Well the modern food industry doesn’t want you to question because then they can continue  producing food through industrial agriculture.  The world’s population is ever-increasing, and a greater population means higher demand.  But is it worth risking losing biodiversity to mass-produce this food?  

Industrial Agriculture
Industrial agriculture perceives farms as factories.  “The goal is to increase yield (such as bushels per acre) and decrease costs of production, usually by exploiting economies of scale.”[1]  Industrial agriculture’s goal is solely to up production and lower costs due to the fact that there is such high demand for food. 

Farmers use a technique called monoculture; (feeding animals only one food to minimize costs of production and save money.)  In this situation the term “livestock,” (to refer to these animals) is more accurate.  These livestock are produced in bulk so that the food companies can get more food quicker onto the market.  Livestock aren’t just for food, but they also include sheep for fur or deer for leather.  But by using monoculture to produce livestock, we are actually getting rid of the diversity of certain natural foods and animals by focusing our attention and mass-producing these same things artificially.  Consequences include health hazards as well as a lack of certain traits not only passed down in these species but in human beings also.

Is There Hope?
Yes there is and it is the completely contrary to what is mentioned above!  It is called sustainable agriculture and it benefits everyone.  It is environmentally conscientious by more frequently using renewable resources, but at the same time striving to get the best bargain and not taking advantage of less fortunate communities.  It focuses on naturally growing food and not harming evolution, the possibilities of the future, not just in animals but in human growth and development as well.  By doing all of this, this form of agriculture is the greatest way to sustain our resources while making profits with the least amount of harm done to animals, our communities and wallets.


Looking Towards the Future
Since the 1950s, organizations in Canada such as The Land Fellowship (first ever), try to continue sustainable agriculture efforts.  Even with all of the damages that industrial agriculture has caused such as the swine flu, in a tight economy we get lost trying to obtain the most for our dollar.  But we must be conscientious of every single species on this Earth and not try to cancel them out because we want better profitability.  Every life is important on Earth, from humans to plankton; we all have an impact on our ecosystems.   Let’s focus on trying to preserve every single life; whether animal or human, we are all equally important.

[1] "Food and Agriculture." Union of Concerned Scientists. Union of Concerned Scientists, 05/17/07. Web. 16 Feb 2011. <>.

1.  "What is Sustainable Agriculture?." University of Carolina Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. University of Carolina, 2006. Web. 16 Feb 2011. <>.

2.  "Livestock Farms." The Inside Scoop on Farms. Think Quest USA, n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2011. <>.

3.  MacRae, Rod. "A History of Sustainable Agriculture." Ecological Agriculture Projects. McGill University, 1990. Web. 16 Feb 2011.

4.  Steck, Ted. "Human Population Explosion." The Encyclopedia of Earth. Environmental Indormation Coalition, 14 Dec 2010. Web. 16 Feb 2011.


Commented on: