Organic aqua farming – Creating an ecological balance in biological way
At TatavGyan, we been conducting a lot of research on environment and rural economy issues and published a lot of article in various print / web / social media, but amazingly, we never got attracted towards the aquatic ecology.
But the recent draught in 12 states, effecting 33 Crores people, for which a relief fund of 38,500 Crores has been sanctioned by the government through MNREGA, forced us to think in this direction.
We all understand that water is the basic source of life. We know that more than 70% of our planet is covered with water and nearly 80% of human body is water as well. It is the water, which makes life possible on earth, but we human beings consider everything on earth is made for our usage and keep using our natural resources for making our life easier. And in the process, we make don’t just deplete the natural resources, but also disturb the ecological balance. All human activities, eventually lead to harm nature, either directly or indirectly. We use fossils as fuel and pollute air, we put the industrial waste in water bodies and pollute water, which goes to rivers polluting them, which in turn go to sea and pollute them. We make water undrinkable and air un-breathable and land uncultivable. We cut trees to make paper, firewood, plywood, furniture, and create irreversible changes in our environment and then cry for the diseases created and affecting our own kids.
Basics of life – the forgotten lesson
But if we were always like this, then how come we’ve been surviving on this planet for so long? By now we should’ve consumed all the natural resources and the civilizations would have doomed by now. A history channel documentary shot in 2011, for archeological findings near Dwarka (India) showed some remains of fully developed city of a civilization submerged under sea, which are carbon dated to be 32,000 years old. So how are we still surviving for 32,000 years? There must’ve been some process or practices that we would have developed to live in harmony with the nature. We must’ve developed a culture to co-exist with the ecological balance, that’s why we would’ve survived for so long. And this very hypothesis gets proven, when we look at Angkor Wat City or the temple complexes in Cambodia, built in 1100 A.D. more than 1000 square kilometer complex has a wonderful canal irrigation and transport system of flowing water, without using any pumps or any artificial machines / mechanics. The construction is done with a beautiful architectural design in which the flow of water is maintained by elevating and decreasing the height & depth of the canal. And it still runs successfully after a 1000 years of construction.
We need to understand the self-healing mechanism of nature. All natural eco-systems are cyclic, repairable and renewable. Problem occurs, when we intervene. We always try to disturb, without knowing the restore point. It’s high time for us to unlearn what we have been doing for last 700 years to harm the nature in the name of development, go back to basics and relearn the way of living in harmony with the eco-logical balance. Nature has all the cures and we need to discover the restore points.
The Ecological balance
For example, the ecological balance that nature maintains in a jungle is explained in the picture. Herbivorous (plant-eaters) animals survive on the plants, and the Carnivorous (meat-eaters) animals survive on the other animals, and when the Carnivorous die, their body is decomposed by worms and microbes returning it to soil which is consumed by plants for growing as a food to Herbivorous. And thus the cycle goes on and on.
The same structure is followed in the aquatic / marine life forms as well. Plants consume microorganisms, plants are consumed by lobsters, lobsters by fishes, fishes by bigger fishes, and when the bigger ones die, their body is decomposed, works as food for microbes and the cycle goes on.
Now when human intervene, what happens is pollution – killing all the aquatic life forms.
We keep on adding wastewater from various sources to the running and wetland waters, be it well, pond, lake or river – we keep adding sewage, industrial waste, animal waste, chemical waste, solid waste etc., in chemical terms, mainly nitrogen and carbon. Now this nitrogen and carbon, when reaches the water, makes it toxic to support the aquatic life. The oxygen content goes down, creating an unhealthy environment for any life form to be sustained in such waters. Plants die, fishes die, water gets unfit for human consumption, water hyacinth cover the surface of water bodies stopping the exposure to sunlight and r
estricting the photosynthesis to release oxygen.
Nitrogen has many compound which are a part of our body and everyday life. Nitrogen covers 78% of our earth’s atmosphere and is an essential element of human DNA as well. It’s the key ingredient of amino acids, protein, ammonia and many other useful compounds, which are useful for farming pulses and many other useful crops. There’s a complete nitrogen cycle on land, which is also replicated in aquatic bodies, but it can be sustained only under natural conditions. Access of anything is good for nothing.
Restoration – the microbiological way
But for this nature itself has a cure. The poisonous mix of nitrogen (primarily ammonia, nirite & nitrate) and carbon (in forms of carbon dioxide & methane) is something on which complex life forms like plants and animals can’t survive, but single celled microbes can. It’s like an environment which existed in the beginning of earth. Now these Uni-Cellular Phytoplanktons (UCPs) survive on the nutrient elements mixed in the water – basically pollution. They consume the nutrient elements and release oxygen, making it useful for aquatic life forms being full of dissolved oxygen (DO) that makes the Water fit for breathing.
So the UCPs, basically restarts the aquatic / marine ecosystem, by adding dissolved oxygen, removing pollutants and keeping the water fresh.
The water gets fresh, the life gets started, microbes get generated, and the complete ecosystem is restored. It’ll start with wet land but the chain continues till the oceans. Restoring the ecological balance in a pond / lake / well, doesn’t just effect that water body individually, but also effects the rivers with they ultimately get connected and the ocean in which the river ultimately get culminated into. It’s the whole cycle which gets replenished. Even the underground water bed gets effected with the process.