Bengaluru’s metro pillars to be converted into vertical gardens using ‘hydrophonics’
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 10-Mar-2017

Bengaluru, March 10: Bengaluru is stepping forward to ease out the transportation problems and also to combat the environment issues.  Bengaluru’s metro pillars will be converted into vertical gardens using hydroponics where plants absorb pollution and are a sight for sore eyes.‘Hydroponics’ –means growing plants by using all required nutrients through water, but without soil. The 7 kilometre Metro rail line from MG Road to Baiyappanahalli has 222 pillars, and if vertical gardens are built on them, that would increase the green space and beautify the corridor as well, Hydrobloom managing director, Sunil Jose.

At present, about 800 plants including ornamental plants is already a part of the vertical garden on the Metro pillar near Rangoli Art Centre. Hydrobloom managing director, Sunil Jose, said, “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.”

He also said “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% in 24 hours.”

He also claims that plants are grown using the hydroponics method use 90% 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, and the water tank is filled only once in a month.

Jose said they hydroponics has also been complemented with automation with smart sensors being fitted on the pillar to regulate the amount of water required by the plant – neither too much nor too less. In case the water level is on the lower side, then it automatically sends a message to trigger a tap at the bottom to pump up the water level; and if the water is more acidic or alkaline, then again a message alert is sent. The sensors detect the plants’ needs. But building the vertical garden wasn’t without challenges. “Close to 60 plants was stolen by people, and cows were also seen grazing on these plants. We have replaced them with new plants,” said Jose.

The Metro Reach between MG Road and Baiyappanahalli has been operational for over five years now. After the entire east-west corridor opened for commercial operations the ridership has increased drastically. At present over 1.45 lakh to 1.50 lakh passengers use metro for the daily commute.

The BMRCL had also taken up beautification work on medians and pillars with the help of corporate bodies. Ornamental plants are grown on the median of the road where the pillars have been built to support Metro’s elevated structures. The BMRCL had rented out space to corporate bodies where they can display advertisements. In addition to these, the BMRCL has also beautified metro stations with paintings and artworks.