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Foliage Beneath The Multitudinous Flyovers


The green stretches in the asphalt jungle refer to a verdure in the wide terrain below the numerous flyovers in all the boom towns of the country. This is the most pragmatic and utilitarian approach to the vast expanse beneath the numerous flyovers in Mumbai and the rest of India. The cultivation of abundant plants in a systematic manner resulting in foliage in the neglected space below the flyovers is a boon to the urban conglomeration and a leap towards sustainability.

The growing of plants of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs is a positive step in the creation of a bucolic environment in the bustling metropolis. The rich benefit of such tilling is the nullifying of the harmful effect of inhaling toxic gases. Needless to add that for those travelling long distance by road daily it will be a heavenly experience as they will be positively breathing fresh and unpolluted air. The obvious effect is a tranquil atmosphere for all the people of the city.

Greenery in the concrete jungle definitely impacts its weather and climate. “Vegetation influences both albedo of the earth and the amount of water vapour and carbon dioxide in the air” according to the report of the North Carolina State Climate Office. Further, the increase in construction means excessive use of asphalt and cement both of which absorb tremendous sunlight in the day effecting rise in the temperature in the day and release heat in the night gradually causing rise in the temperature in the night too. The presence of foliation and its concomitant transpiration naturally offsets this increase in the temperature.

The scientists have emphasized that the plants cool the atmosphere by the process of both ‘transpiration’ and ‘photosynthesis’. Transpiration or Evapotranspiration is a process during which water absorbed by the roots in ‘osmosis’ evaporates through leaves into the atmosphere and effects the formation of rain clouds. This scientific process cools the surroundings and is a boon to humanity. The absence of vegetation leads to excessive heat as there is no ‘transpiration’ to cool the air. Photosynthesis is the process in which oxygen is released into the atmosphere by the plant kingdom which uses carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere for producing carbohydrates required by it. There is optimal absorption by the plant kingdom, of CO2 and other gases which cause global warming and urban pollution respectively. This reduces air pollutants such as green gas emissions caused by fossil fuel burning. The plants contribute to fresh air as a result of photosynthesis. Global Warming is reversed by a thicket and the city edges closer towards sustainability.

The flora also filters particulate matter from the atmosphere and keeps them out of our lungs. According to sources “plants can effectively reduce or insulate background noise, vibrations and reduce sound penetration.”Lushness converts solar energy into biomass and forms the basis of all food chains.

Agronomy should be preferably in mud pots or hanging bags tied to poles set up for this specific purpose. The rationale behind mud pots and not soil is that the roots of some plants are invasive and may cause damage to the cement below and to the pillars supporting the flyovers. The roots may shrink when there are no rains and expand during monsoons. The shrinkage and /or expansion of roots can damage the structural integrity of the soil which in turn can cause foundation damage. The spreading of mud for horticulture in the space beneath the many flyovers in Mumbai is therefore not viable.

The plants in mud pots will result in greener environment and fresh air as a combatant to the increasing pollution. The fruitful utilisation of this large area augurs well for sustainability.

The “Bonsai” art of cultivation of trees is also suited for the space beneath the flyovers. This Japanese form of plant cultivation can be done with seeds and plant cuttings. The locally grown plants may be cultivated in consultation with the nurseries.

The regular norms may be followed for plant farming whether it is Bonsai or normal cultivation. Further, the space needs to be enclosed partially to prevent thefts and encroachments. Amidst the umbrage, area for walks may be carved. A strict monitoring system ought to be in force for effective implementation of regulations in this regard.

PPP Enterprise is the best suited for this task. Public Private Partnership between the State/Zilla Parishad /Gram Panchayat /Panchayat Samiti and a Private Company or NGO ensures the flow of funds required, from the private partner alongside effective management for the period specified in the agreement .Any PPP form may be adopted.

Thus1.) Revenue is guaranteed as a result of sale of all the flowers fruits, vegetables and herbs; 2.) Part time employment is assured as caretakers, gardeners and security guards are a requirement; 3.) Sustainability is ensured; According to the Dalai Lama “the natural environment sustains the life of all beings universally”; 4.) The wide terrain will be transformed from a dumping ground for waste, old and discarded vehicles and a habitat for beggars and anti social elements to a lush green kingdom plantae.

The sequel to this action of developing shrubbery in the wide terrain below the innumerable fly pasts is a Green Megalopolis and a Giant Leap towards Sustainability.

Jaya-ChandrashekhaThe author Jaya Chandrashekhar was an Income-tax Officer and recently quit after decades of service. She also compered for the Yuva Vani English, AIR for a short while. Jaya has a keen interest in socio-economic issues and contributes to the GOI Portal, Indian Express amongst several others. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga and cooking.

Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.

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