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Ludhiana

Posted at: Jan 14, 2018, 1:34 AM; last updated: Jan 14, 2018, 1:34 AM (IST)

Tax sleuths add green ‘lungs’ to the city

Vertical garden comprising 12,000 plants cleaning the air at city’s Aayakar Bhawan
Tax sleuths add green ‘lungs’ to the city
Additional Commissioner Income Tax Rohit Mehra with Deputy Commissioner Maninder Kaur at the vertical garden set up at the department’s building. Tribune Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Gurvinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 13

Due to the rising pollution levels in the city, it is becoming difficult to breathe. But the Income Tax Department here is adding green ‘lungs’ to the city by installing vertical gardens on its premises by making use of waste plastic bottles.

The staff have put together a vertical garden comprising over 12,000 plants, mostly in discarded plastic bottles. They claim it to be one of the country’s biggest vertical garden.

The idea came when the department officials visited Singapore and saw a number of vertical gardens there. Though discarded plastic bottles are becoming a problem worldwide, they are turning into ‘green plastic’. What would otherwise had landed in bins and added to waste, are now being used to make the environment greener.

The bottles cut in the middle are drilled into the wall and coco peat, coal ash is put into these before planting saplings. Plants are watered through automatic drip-irrigation system, which releases preset amount of water. Three bottles are placed on top of the other, so when one bottle is watered, drops fall in the bottles below, further preventing wastage.

“In drip-irrigation system, more than 90 per cent of water is saved. Not only this, plants get just the right amount,” said Rohit Mehra, Additional Commissioner, who has been passionately setting the garden at the department, adding: “Moreover, the system works automatically, so one doesn’t have to devote time for watering plants.” “We, in fact, have planted more than 94 varieties of plants,” he says. “More than 90 per cent plants have survived and we continue to add more of these,” Mehra said.

To further save the cost, they have now started making vermicompost themselves in addition to starting their own in-house nursery as well.

Chief Commissioner BK Jha, who is equally keen, said: “The benefits have been wonderful, as it has not only reduced the air pollution around, but also reduced noise pollution. Other benefits are that it not only enhances the aesthetics, but also lowers temperature by at least 5 to 7 °C, which will be beneficial during the summer.”

They are especially inviting and involving schoolchildren to visit the gardens. “We have dedicated a wall of the building especially for them and give them saplings as well,” says Jha, adding: “In fact, it has already inspired people. They visit, seek guidance and set up such gardens at their homes and then send pictures.” 

Their team recently helped setting up such garden at Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib after the management approached them. They are also helping some schools in setting this up. “We would be happy to help anyone willing to start their own garden. We are also approaching the industry so that they adopt it,” Jha said. 

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