Why is bokashi so important?


We have two types of ”trash” in the world, organic and non-organic, and in Myanmar these are typically mixed and sent to landfill. Clearly, all non-organic materials such as plastics, metals, paper, glass etc should be collected and recycled, but currently there is no clear solution for organic waste. Anything that has come from the soil should be returned to the soil if the equation is going to hold, and bokashi is a good way of making that happen.

In Yangon, the soil is typically sandy and low in nutrients; often it has been badly treated with chemicals. The way to build a good soil for agriculture, urban or otherwise, is to increase the carbon content (humus), and this is done by adding organic matter.

Cow manure, agricultural waste, or food waste, it doesn’t matter, but in urban environments the thing we have best access to is food waste so it makes sense to use this now that we have a smart way of doing it. If we can build fertile soil on street corners, in villages, on balconies and on urban farms, we have come one big step closer to creating a greener environment and improving food security for the future.

Bokashi is also important from another perspective. Any form of organic material, left to rot, will create carbon gases (methane and carbon dioxide). These gases are emitted whether the organic waste is on a landfill or in a traditional compost pile. As much as 50% of the carbon in the organic material is lost this way to the atmosphere. Bokashi works in another way which means that nearly all the carbon is converted to soil carbon (where it is needed) and not to atmospheric carbon (where it is definitely not needed).