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Gurugram banking on vertical gardens to improve air quality

In a move to reduce air pollution and increase green cover in the city, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has approved a proposal to cultivate vertical gardens at key junctions across the city and plant three lakh saplings. The project, officials estimate, is likely to cost Rs 88 lakh.

gurgaon Updated: Aug 22, 2018 11:14 IST
Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Municipal Corporation of Gurugram,MCG,vertical gardens
Vertical gardens will finally become a reality in Gurugram and will see the use of hydroponic plants, which do not need soil for growth. They will have an automated dripping system, with water being equally distributed among all plants, said officials. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

In a move to reduce air pollution and increase green cover in the city, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has approved a proposal to cultivate vertical gardens at key junctions across the city and plant three lakh saplings. The project, officials estimate, is likely to cost Rs 88 lakh.

The approval comes two days after Gurugram was labelled ‘the most polluted city’ in India on Sunday, among the 62 cities where air monitoring stations are installed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The air quality index (AQI) was 321, categorised as “very poor”.

“Air pollution has been a major issue and, taking cognizance of this, the MCG has decided to create vertical gardens at crucial traffic junctions and plant three lakh saplings to help Gurugram breathe better,” said Yashpal Yadav, MCG commissioner.

The agenda was brought up at the MCG House meeting on July 25 and agreed in-principle by the officials and councillors. A proposal to this regard was approved by the MCG on Monday. MCG officials said the idea of installing vertical gardens, meanwhile, was inspired by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). In 2016, then MCG additional commissioner Amit Khatri had seen the gardens in Bengaluru during an official tour and brought it to the notice of Gurugram officials.

Two years later, vertical gardens will finally become a reality in Gurugram and will see the use of hydroponic plants, which do not need soil for growth. They will have an automated dripping system, with water being equally distributed among all plants, said officials.

For the vertical gardens, herbs such as basil, cilantro, coriander, fennel, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme, apart from tomatoes, cucumber and all varieties of flowers will be used. They added that such plants are particularly useful in lowering carbon emissions and are also known to act as sound barriers, which can help in reducing noise pollution.

These vertical gardens are likely to be installed on the Metro pillars located along the Golf Course Road-Cyber City stretch and Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road-Huda City Centre stretch, as well as on the pillars of flyovers at Subash Chowk.

Further, the civic body will coordinate with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to install these at key junctions — Shankar Chowk, IFFCO Chowk, Signature Towers, Rajiv Chowk and Hero Honda Chowk — on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.

MCG officials said that the vertical gardens will resolve a longstanding issue of dearth of green cover at the junctions, where there is no space to sow plants and trees.

The concept of vertical gardens, however, is not the first inspiration the civic body has taken from the BBMP. Last month, the MCG, following in the BBMP’s footsteps, passed an agenda making it mandatory for residents to plant trees in front of their homes, with the number of trees that must be planted being determined by their plot size.

Vertical gardens have also been set up in New Delhi, by the NHAI along the 1.5km stretch between Nizamuddin Bridge and Commonwealth Sports Village flyover, located on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway corridor of the NH-24 in June.

In January, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had erected vertical gardens on eight Metro pillars between Pragati Maidan and Mandi House on the Delhi Metro’s Blue line. The only vertical garden in Gurugram is on a Metro pillar at the Sector 54 Chowk rapid Metro station. It was installed in January.

“If executed properly and watered timely, vertical gardens will play a significant role in reducing dust. The key, though, remains in the upkeep of these gardens for successful results,” said Sunita Narain, the director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Officials said that the monsoon plantation drive is also underway. The three lakh plants will be equally distributed among MCG’s 35 wards, with around 8,500 plants being planted in each ward.

“We have started planting saplings of trees, shrubs and plants and are aiming to plant one lakh saplings across the city by this month. Plantation will be done mainly in parks, community centres and crematoriums. Depending on the rains, we will take a call on whether to plant the remaining two lakh saplings in September or the next monsoon,” said Ajay Nirala, executive engineer, horticulture wing, MCG.

First Published: Aug 08, 2018 04:25 IST