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Livestock Sector Organic Waste Management

The livestock sector continues to grow around the world. Accordingly, sector related waste, especially manure has a serious impact on the water quality and environment (FAO, 2006). Zoonotic pathogens and pesticide waste are the major pollutants produced by the above mentioned sector (WHO, 2012; NORMAN, 2016). During the past 20 years, amongst the agricultural pollutants a new class of pollutants has emerged in the form of veterinary medicines, which access the ecosystem through the waters drained from the farms. This process has extensive impact on the global issue of bacterial antibiotic resistance. 

An important problem for the environment is the urine and manure accumulated in the farms. Direct release of manure, urine, polluted waters into the environment results in soil and water pollution by such matters.

It is noteworthy, that fecal matters in the environment contain high levels of zoonotic microorganisms, which can be harmful to human health as well. In fecal matters commonly contain Campylobacter spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7Salmonella spp. and Clostridium botulinum, as well as parasitic organisms such as:  Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium parvum and Microsporidia spp.. Inadequate control of fecal matters in the environment leads to soil pollution, as well as water pollution and becomes the fundamental cause for animal and human diseases. In order to prevent this problem it is critical to introduce adequate manure and waste management in livestock farms. 

What shall we know about proper management of the manure:

Manure management refers to collection, storage, processing, and utilization of animal manures in an environmentally sustainable manner. Collected manure shall be used in the agricultural lands in the manner, which ensures supply of required nutrition to the soil and prevents water pollution and high levels of nutrient concentration. 

According to the National Statics Office of Georgia, in 2022 number of livestock is only 12% less than in 2010. But application of organic fertilizers has decreased by 54% (GeoStat, 2022). While, according to the Climate Change Strategy 2030 of Georgia, 19% of greenhouse gases are emmitted through the agricultural sector. Out of this 19%, 85% is directly related to the livestock sector and only 41% is resulted from the improper management of the manure. 

It shall also be noted that, release of organic nutrients (especially phosphor and nitrogen) in the water may result in undesired growth of aquatic plants and seaweed, toxic blue-green algae and have considerable impact on the water ecosystem. It is noteworthy, that oxidization of organic matter in the water reduces oxygen content in the water leading to death of fish and other aquatic inhabitants. 

How to decrease livestock sector related water pollution: 

  • Livestock shall be kept in fenced area, so that animals do not have direct access to coastline and surficial aquifers; 
  • Designated collection areas (such as manure pits) shall be arranged on the farms in order to collect polluted water, urine, manure, and other waste. 

The benefits of proper manure management: 

Adequate management of the manure and its application as a fertilizer may improve soil fertility, increase soil water collection ability, and reduce wind and water related erosion. In livestock stalls, where organic stall mats/layers are used, which mainly consist of food and other organic waste (such as corn and wheat, grass) urine and manure is mixed. Such matter can be managed in two ways: the first way is to use designated commercial means, which contain beneficial microorganisms and support biomass decomposition (as a rule, such means are composed of safe bacteria and fungus, which are safe for the environment as well). And another way is composting of manure and biomass layer in designated areas, thus, the environment pollution can be prevented.