Vertical gardens planned at Delhi’s schools, markets and historical structures

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After busy roundabouts and flyovers, the North and South Delhi municipal corporations are going to create vertical gardens in schools, municipal offices, markets and structures of historical importance.

The two civic agencies have allocated Rs 16 crore for the project and are targeting to complete the work in the next four months.

“The vertical gardens help in neutralising pollution caused by dust and vehicular emissions. The action plan is in accordance with the efforts of the ministry of housing and urban affairs,” a North corporation official said.

The municipal agency has financed the project from funds received under the Centre’s Swachhta Mission. It targets the beautification of 26 markets, 207 primary schools, 60 roads, five historical structures and two flyovers in the next three months.

“While the work has started at some places, such as the vacant space beneath Rani Jhansi flyover, Azad Market crossing and school buildings, special attention will be paid to selecting plants and developing vertical gardens outside historical places such as Town Hall, Roshnara Garden, Qudesia Bagh and Ajmal Khan Park,” an official, on condition of anonymity, said.

A variety of wedelia (pila bhangara), ribbon grass, dracaena reflexa (song of India), inerme (sankuppi) and blade grass will adorn these gardens.

Environmentalists, however, said vertical gardens, instead of cutting pollution, have rather become the source of plastic waste in the city.

“The pots, frames as well as the bags in which these plants are planted are made up of plastic. The concept is good to curb pollution but it is not going to be successful unless done in proper manner,”CR Babu, professor emeritus at the Department of Environmental Studies, Delhi University, said.

The South corporation has also plans to turn 150 pillars of 11 flyovers into green spaces. The six flyovers, which will be developed green in the first phase include Lajpat Nagar, Andrews Ganj, Sarai Kale Khan, Kalkaji, Nehru Place and Raja Garden.

“We have received tenders and work will be completed by September-end. For watering these plants regularly, we are installing drippers and pipelines for supplying recycled water,”Alok Kumar, director, horticulture department, South corporation, said.

The civic agency is considering two holding structures for the project – one in which plastic pots are hung over plastic frames and another with a coco-pith-based medium for plants, with a bigger root system.

There is also a plan for carrying out massive plantation on 40 acres of vacant gram sabha land. Work has been completed at two sites in Jaunapur and Bhim Basti.