This project explores the option of applying compost to reclaim contaminated land at the Yongwa quarry site in Ghana. We seek to leverage the opportunities provided by composting to help manage organic waste in surrounding villages, while applying the compost product to rehabilitate degraded soil for re-vegetation as well as influencing the ecosystem at the quarry site in several positive ways.
The compost is a rich source of organic matter and other plant nutrients and provides an innovative way to re-establish microbial communities and initiate mineralization processes in the soil. The compost-amended soil shall be used for re-vegetation applying an indigenous plant species, Luffa cylindrica (sponge gourd). The ability of the sponge gourd to survive in stressed environment makes it a good candidate to re-vegetate a quarry site. Besides, as a creeping plant, the sponge gourd has the potential to check against erosion. Sponge gourd has big yellow flowers that attract bees as pollinators. The fruit is very fibrous and traditionally has been used by people in the surrounding villages to make sponge for washing and scrubbing. The sponge gourd, in addition, has numerous industrial applications and can be explored as a non-traditional crop in Ghana.
With the re-establishment of microbial and macro-fauna communities in the soil, re-vegetation with Luffa species, and the attraction of pollinators such as bees to the site, it is anticipated that biodiversity at the Yongwa site would substantially improve. The environmental and economic incentives provided by the compost and sponge gourd in this project, are key factors expected to drive project sustainability.