Can Maggots Fix Singapore’s Food Waste Problem?

Posted on Oct 29 2018 - 6:48am by UOG

SINGAPORE — IT’S HARD not to miss the giant black flies that flit within the white net enclosures at Insectta, Singapore‘s first licensed insect farm. The swarm of flies looks like something from the start of the apocalypse, but these flying insects are not here to mark humanity’s downfall – in fact, they may be here to save it.

Singapore is experiencing a trash crisis. Some predict the world’s second most-densely populated city will run out of room in its landfill by 2035. According to figures from the country’s National Environment Agency, while recycling rates for food waste are going up in Singapore, residents still threw away 676,800 metric tons of food in 2017. Only 16 percent of this was recycled – the rest went to the landfill.

Yet there may be a solution, according to a group of urban farmers and scientists in this Southeast Asian city-state, and it’s one that has been buzzing under everyone’s noses all along.

Living within the jungles of Singapore is the black soldier fly – nature’s own waste disposal unit. When its larvae are born, they voraciously eat almost any food waste left in their way. The sleek tropical insect is now being intentionally brought into the city by two entrepreneurial farmers, Darren Ho and Ng Jia Quan, who have created Insectta – an insect farm in the residential area of Queenstown. The goal of Ho, a natural resources management graduate, and Ng, a former chef, is to adopt sustainable farming practices that reduce urban waste and embrace the natural, eco-friendly food cycle long a feature of the island.”

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