Worms Help Cleaning of Toxic Contaminated Soil | Anyclean

updated: 15/10/2023


Groundbreaking Method of Cleaning

Worms?! Really? Well, it looks like these Indian scientists have discovered a groundbreaking new method of cleaning heavy metals and other toxins from contaminated soil areas.

Previously a danger zone and in no way a testing ground for cleaning up soil, now there is an ongoing clean-up testing with successful results. These areas have witnessed recent lightning fast industrial development that has left tons of toxic material deep in the ground. Now, there is hope that all these abandoned farms and fields can re-start their life again thanks to…worms.

The Test Results

Indian scientist have found out that worms, normally used as bait by fishermen and for food by birds, can absorb heavy metals and toxins up to 5 feet deep into contaminated soil then come to the surface without releasing the deadly stuff. Something like live microfibre cloths gathering poisons and not letting them go out in the open.

These worms are then safely transported to other fields where toxins can be diluted with the clean soil or, in the case of heavily contaminated soil, worms can be collected and put in a safe long term dump site or incinerated. Great! It looks like Nature can be cured after all the damage we cause daily.

Scientists say that the Indian government is very interested with the test results and is currently researching contaminated sites that can be cleaned using this amazing method. The study showed that these lovely creatures (yes, I love worms already!) managed to clean 60% of the heavy metals in the toxic land samples. This 3 year project cost only $35,000 and has provided the foundation for great new forward development of methods fighting the Earth’s pollution via organic means. The scientist who found out about worms’ ability to clean up heavy metals, Dr. Suneet Dabke, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to further develop the worm technique.

The Polluting Years

Indian factories and plants have been pumping out deadly toxins in the open without any treatment or controls for many years until 1996 when anti-pollution laws were introduced. Even then the problem could not be resolved. Despite all that no further achievement has been seen on this front until the worms project. The fact that hundreds of thousands of tons of heavy metals have been released in the open environment made vast amounts of land virtually unusable. Decades of polluting the environment have started to take their toll in the form of high levels of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Sounds like Chernobyl but without the nuclear explosion. Scary.

There is Hope

But now this so alternative and cheap method has brought a new meaning meaning to the word “clean”. Something that has been rendered uncleanable is now successfully removed using biological solution in the form of Earthworms. Amazing!

After the worm cleaning cycle, the team of scientist manage to grow corn on the cleaned site (something practically impossible a few years ago) and found only a tiny trace of pollutants in the soil and corn. Wow! Well done, worms…er I meant: Well done, Dr. Dabke!

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.