Mumbai: Globally, humans consume a million plastic bottles every minute according to the consumer market research company Euromonitor International. It is estimated that over half a trillion plastic bottles will be sold in 2020. Plastic bottles are commonly made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). These take approximately 400 years to decompose but are highly recyclable. Banking on the long shelf life of plastic bottles, India’s cleanest city for two years in a row in Swachh Survekshan (cleanliness survey), Indore has developed a vertical garden using discarded bottles. The idea was conceptualised by the Garden department of Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC). The civic body will collect the discarded bottles from government events and meetings.
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Plastic bottles have a longer shelf life and do not get damaged easily. We had come across several initiatives across India where plastic bottles were being used for vertical gardens. A few months ago, in one of the government events, hundreds of plastic bottles were discarded. While, most of those bottles went to the recycling centre, we collected some of it for the vertical gardens. Thereon we have been collecting plastic bottles from several events, Kailash Joshi, from IMC’s garden department tells NDTV.
The vertical garden has been installed at Nehru Park, one of the popular parks in the city. Around 2,000 bottles were used in place of nursery growing containers.
Explaining the purpose behind installing the garden in the park, Mr Joshi says,
Vertical gardens made with the help of plastic bottles occupy less space and the cost of buying containers is eliminated. They are also easy to make, and anyone can build such gardens at home. Placing them in Nehru park will attract maximum people towards the concept of vertical gardens. We want people to reuse the bottles at their home and in neighbourhood and increase the green cover. This will lessen the air and plastic pollution, says Mr Joshi.
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A vertical garden grows upward (vertically) using a trellis or other support system, rather than on the ground (horizontally). The plant species in these vertical gardens include money plant (golden), asparagus sprengeri, chlorophytum comosum, tradescantia, ficus long island, syngonium butterfly, ophiopogon japonicas and ophiopogon jaburan.
Making a vertical garden is easy, says Mr Joshi,
Cut the bottle in half. Use the bottom half and poke small holes in the bottom of it for drainage. Cut a rectangle in the middle of your bottle opposite the side with holes. This is an opening for your soil and seedlings. Thread the string through a hole and pull out through the other for hanging purpose. Select plants on the basis of location that is indoor or outdoor and the amount of sunlight the wall gets.
The benefits of having a vertical garden are multiple. It tackles air pollution by eliminating ultra-fine dust pollutants that can easily enter a human body that lead to several health problems. Besides, the green walls also absorb the heat and bringdown the temperature by 2-3 degrees. It also helps in reducing the noise levels.
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If the concept of vertical gardening by reusing plastic bottles is successful in Nehru park then the IMC will develop such gardens in other public places as well, said Mr Joshi.
The concept of vertical gardening has already been tested in Noida, Delhi, Bengaluru. The Kochi Metro was the first among the Metrorail corporations to adopt this initiative and build vertical gardens in January 2017. Taking cue from Kochi was Bengaluru’s Namma Metro, Nagpur’s Mahametro and Delhi’s Metro Corporation.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.