India looking to cut down on air pollution using plants

This monsoon, Delhi is at its verdant best. With the soot and dust washed off, leaves are finally flaunting their original shades. Even the naked patches of earth, turned sandy and gritty from the city’s construction debris, have burst into untamed greenery.

Somehow, many of the vertical gardens installed on concrete pillars supporting flyovers and elevated metro corridors in the past few months do not seem to share this happiness. Except for the ones flourishing in the VIP zones, thanks to the special attention they get from the civic authorities, or those replaced recently, vertical gardens in most other parts of Delhi look more like a collage of black plastic pots rather than blooming greens.

Perhaps, they are still too young or are recovering from the intense summer and vandalism at the hands of unruly citizens. Perhaps, the horticulturalists were wrong in selecting the right variety of plants. Perhaps, the pots they chose were not roomy enough for the roots to grow, and are already being replaced by larger mesh baskets. But clearly, the authorities are still struggling to get this experiment right.

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