Passionate about earthworms
VERMICULTURE IS the gospel that Sultan Ahmed Ismail has been preaching for years now. And, slowly, more and more people have begun to follow his advice and make vermicompost at home. It is but meet that his long affair with earthworms, the catalytical agent in vermiculture/vermicomposting be recognised but that recognition, in the shape of a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Madras, has come not as honoris causa, as has been deserved for many years now, but for his painstaking research work on earthworms.
Dr. Ismail, after 27 years at New College, recently joined the AMM Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre as its Deputy Director.
At New College, he was its Vice Principal, Head, Department of Zoology, and Director, Institute of Research in Soil Biology and Biotechnology.
The AMM Research Centre, which has done pioneering work in algae leading to the popularising of spirulina as a drug for better health and in grassroots development might well offer great scope and space for Dr. Ismail to work on such new areas as liquid compost and making simple home composting kits and recycling kits to convert kitchen waste and bathwater.
It was in 1978 that Dr. Ismail got interested in earthworm behaviour when a lab assistant produced the animal specimen he had, to illustrate a lecture on animal behaviour earthworms.
Few countries, says Dr. Ismail, have such a variety of earthworm species as India; we have over 500, and most of them are catalytical in causing composting, by burrowing through the sand and providing aeration to micro-organisms like protozoas and bacteria.
A gardening enthusiast, Dr. Ismail's garden of herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowering plants is living evidence of what can be created in an environment-friendly manner through vermicomposting, recycling and rainwater harvesting.
Urging educational institutions and residents' associations to commit themselves to vermicomposting, recycling waste and rainwater harvesting and stating that he would be glad to offer consultation on these aspects free Dr. Ismail says it is a misconception to think that any of these environment-friendly practices would lead to a burgeoning of flies and mosquitoes or would cause a stench.
That is a thought to be promoted as much as his earthworm philosophy.
Send this article to Friends by