March 18th, 2017
On the lines of the pillar-based vertical gardens in Mexico City, which went viral on social media, Bengaluru is getting its own vertical garden. A green wall is a wall partially or completely covered with greenery that includes a growing medium, such as soil or a substrate. Most green walls also feature an integrated water delivery system. Green walls are also known as living walls or vertical gardens. Some of the city based startups exploited this idea to make Bengaluru’s flyover greener, beautiful and pollution-free.
Vertical Gardens by SayTrees on Hosur road
SayTrees has been planting trees for last ten years. And on the tenth year, they felt that more needs to be done. The city is being flooded with pillars to support the metro and flyovers. There was so much of real estate which is otherwise not used. And they thought of making use of this opportunity to create vertical gardens.
It took four months to conceptualise the vertical gardens. We had to think about the safety of the pillars, the safety of installed pots/saplings, regular maintenance, etc. We had to make sure that the saplings are maintained regularly so that the vertical gardens remain healthy and fight the city pollution. Kapil Sharma, the founder of SayTrees, made sure that these vertical gardens look like a piece of art, something which has never been seen before. Sharma made designs on all sides of the pillar and decided the location of each sapling in all the pillars to make sure the final look impresses each and every person who passes by the pillars. He wants to convert all 200+ pillars of the Hosur Road flyover to vertical gardens soon and make the entire road look out-of-the-world. Something not present in any city in India.
Durgesh Agrahari, head of partnerships and projects in SayTrees, says that this pillar in Hosur Road has about 3,500 saplings. More than ten variety of saplings were chosen, which are sturdy and also look beautiful. Durgesh says that these saplings will be regularly watered using the automatic drip irrigation system, which is being installed on the pillar. This system will water the saplings automatically every day for 20-30 mins. During monsoon, rainwater will be used to water the saplings. The framework is made of steel and is at a safe distance from the pillar so that the pillar is not affected by the new installation around it. Durgesh also says that the entire plantation is organic. Cocopeat is used as base and Jeevamrutha will be used regularly to support the saplings. The saplings are sturdy and so will grow slowly. But in long run, it will be sturdy. SayTrees also plans to have a permanent gardener once more pillars have the vertical garden installed.
SayTrees is aiming to convert many pillars of the Hosur Road flyover with these beautiful-looking gardens to fight pollution and reduce stress among the travellers. SayTrees is looking for corporates to come forward and support SayTrees in making these gardens and maintain them year after year. They believe in making a sustainable setup which will ensure the vertical garden are not a one-time event but becomes a permanent part of the city. SayTrees also invites corporates to support them under their CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] initiatives to make more vertical gardens in the city.
Biju Francis, from BETL, says that they are working towards making the area under flyover look very beautiful and this is the first step towards it. He says that SayTrees have been very professional in bringing this up and BETL is thrilled to see this happening.
Bangalore Metro pillars are being converted into vertical gardens:
After getting permission from BMRCL, a city-based startup Hydrobloom started a pilot project of the vertical garden on a Metro pillar near Rangoli Art Centre next to the MG Road Metro station using a technology called ‘hydroponics’ – growing plants by using all required nutrients through water, but without soil. To feed a single Metro pillar, about 500 litres of water is enough, and the water tank is needed to be filled only once a month.
Hydrobloom managing director, Sunil Jose, told Bangalore Mirror, “Once we succeed in getting required results, the project will be taken up on the entire stretch of MG Road. We will also look for sponsors under corporate social responsibility. The vertical garden project is ideal for cities like Bengaluru where pollution levels have increased at an alarming rate.”
Metro rail line from MG Road to Baiyappanahalli has 222 pillars, and if vertical gardens are built on them, the green space will be increased and beautify the metro corridor as well, Jose said.
He said to the Bangalore Mirror, “A NASA clean air study showed that plants can eliminate harmful toxic gases in the air caused by various pollution sources including vehicle pollution. These plants can reduce the levels of toxic gases by 50 to 80 percent in 24 hours.”
He also claims that plants grown using the hydroponics method use 90 percent less water than the conventionally grown soil-based ones. About 500 litres of water is enough to feed the plants on a single Metro pillar.
Benefits of a vertical garden:
- Reduces urban heat island effect and smog
- Cleans outside air of pollutants and dust and offsets the carbon footprint of people and fuel emissions
- Acts as a sound-proofing barrier
- Insulates and cools the building envelope, as well as protecting it from the elements
- Creates habitats for birds and beneficial insects, increasing biodiversity
- Increases real estate value
- Increases foot traffic in retail spaces
- Speedy recovery time for patients through Biophilia
- Green walls mitigate air pollution levels by lowering extreme summer temperatures through photosynthesis, trapping particulate matter, and capturing gases.
- The ability of green walls to provide thermal insulation for buildings means less demand on power, and as a result, fewer polluting by-products are released into the air.
- Reduces stress among people.