Pitara Kids Network

Worming into the Olympics

The organisers of the 2000 Sydney Olympics are very serious about projecting the Olympics as an eco-friendly event. So the Olympics village in Sydney, where the athletes are living, is entirely solar-powered. But the organisers haven’t stopped at that. They’re ensuring that even the garbage generated by people at the Olympics is eco-friendly.

For this, they’ve enlisted the help of the humble earthworm — three varieties of the earthworm, in fact. Thousands of these worms cluster behind eating areas at the Olympics. And chew their way through the garbage left there deliberately for their eating pleasure, reports an ‘Associated Press’ feature in ‘The Indian Express’.

The report calls them ring worms, tiny vacuuum cleaners that devour anything organic in their path. But unlike vacuum cleaners, they leave behind a rich pile of dirt called vermicast, which will be used to fertilise soil on Australian farms.

The worms don’t walk down to the eating areas on their own, though. Bringing them to the sites is the job of Steve Scott, general manager of Enviro-Waste Solutions. “You’ve got to drive around Sydney looking for waste until you have got enough worms,” he says.

After he has acquired enough of them, he places them in refrigerator-sized units behind four key Olympics sites – the Sydney organising committee headquarters, the Main Press Centre, the International Broadcast Centre and the Olympic Park Novotel. Then he waits for them to convert dirt to rich dirt.

These worms possess immense appetites. They can eat half their own weight in a single day. This helps them double their mass every three months. They’ve been in the service of Sydney Olympic’s organizing committee since 1998, and have chewed 90 per cent of its shredded documents. For this they’re put inside metal crates holding the documents.

The earthworms are being tremendously appreciated for their efforts. “Never mind the Olympics. The worms are the biggest show,” says a chef whose kitchen supplies them with the bulk of their food. Sydney Olympics’ organising committee agrees.