Emission patterns of 13 VOCs were investigated in three types of vermicomposting systems (Eisenia fetida, Metaphire posthuma, and Lampito mauritii) in reference to a traditional aerobic composting system by feeding the systems with mixtures of three materials (coal ash (CA), municipal solid waste (MSW), and cow dung (CD)). On an average, the emission rates of aromatic VOCs (benzene, toluene, xylenes, and styrene) were two to three times higher than all other groups (aldehyde, ketones, esters, and alcohols) from all three types of feeding mixtures. However, the emission rates of aromatic VOCs were generally reduced over time in both aerobic composting and vermicomposting systems. Such reduction in the emission rates was most prominent from Eisenia-treated CD + MSW (1:1), Lampito-treated CD + CA (1:1), and Metaphire-treated CD. The results clearly indicated that the increase in humified organic C fractions (humic acid and fulvic acid) and the microbial biomass present during the biocomposting processes greatly reduced the emissions of VOCs. Hence, the study recommends that vermicomposting of coal ash and municipal solid waste in combination with cow dung in 1:1 ratio is an environmentally gainful proposition.
- Anthropogenic VOCs
- Organic C fractions