We could think of everything, except that one day we would come to "ask for help" from the cockroaches to solve the problem of waste disposal. Instead, this happened in Jinan, in the suburbs of Shandong, China: one billion cockroaches dispose of 50 tons of food waste a day, at the moment a small part of the total produced by a single city like Beijing. But the Chinese reality is just a piece of a bigger puzzle of which the cockroach is always the protagonist.
In Beijing, 25 thousand tons of food waste are produced every day: a quantity much higher than that which landfills can dispose of. The rest can be thought of cockroaches that today are already dealing with 50 tons of waste.
This is the idea of a company specializing in agricultural technologies, which in Jinan city has a real breeding of cockroaches: about a billion, but could become many more in the future.
Cockroaches dispose of food waste, a major problem for all of China, but their usefulness does not end with their death - after about 6 months: at that point they are processed to form protein food for pigs and other farm animals.
But cockroaches are unexpectedly a special surveillance of pharmaceutical companies; it seems in fact that they are effective animals for the creation of many drugs, such as those for the treatment of oral and peptic ulcers and also stomach cancer. "It's a disgusting insect, but there are no other drugs available that show the same effects," said the head of one of the pharmaceutical companies that are taking an interest in these insects.
There are still a few farms that breed cockroaches - there is one in a Sichuan village that raises about 4 million - but if the interest should grow it is reasonable to expect a thrive of such plants.
But there are also those who warn, certainly not for their efficacy in the pharmaceutical field, but for the danger of breeding in similar quantities: and if they should somehow disperse into the environment?