To beat dust pollution, Delhi begins greening its roads

The public works department (PWD) has been beautifying the city roads and open spaces in an effort to cut down on dust pollution in the national capital.

Around two months ago, the PWD began with the roads around ISBT Kashmere Gate Ring Road, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg among others by planting of variety of saplings on the central and side verges.

The department is also beautifying other open spaces such as small parks or patches of lands alongside the roads managed by it. The PWD manages 1,260 km roads in the city. It is planting ornamental and seasonal flowering plants, creepers, shrubs and grass alongside roads to give them a beautiful look, an official familiar with the project said.

The project is a part of the Delhi government’s Green Budget initiative, announced by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in March last year. Under the plan, the government aims to spruce up 500-km of PWD roads in a bid to curb dust pollution in the national capital. Only those roads which are wider than 100 feet will be taken up for beautification.

The PWD officials said that the main aim of the drive was to control dust particulate matter as the plants and the grass will not leave dry and open space for dust to fly.

“Earlier, the central and side verges of the PWD roads used to remain either barren or only small patches of grass were there. Dust used to fly from open spaces. Under this initiative we are planting seasonal flowering plants, ornamental plants, creepers, shrubs not only to control dust pollution but also give a beautiful look to the streets,” a senior official of PWD’s horticulture wing said requesting anonymity.

Similar beautification work has started on several stretches such as DDU Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, on Ring Road between Bhairon Marg T-point and Chandgi Ram Akhara, Minto Road, IP Extension flyover, road in front of ISBT Kashmere Gate and Tis Hazari Court.

The PWD’s horticulture wing has started planting the saplings of as many as 15 varieties such as red and yellow kaner, gurhal (Hibiscus), calliandra, bougainvillea, livistona palm, raphis palm, tecoma gaudichaudi, champa, ficus and hamelia among others.

Giving an example of the road under New Delhi Municipal Council area, another official said that the PWD roads will also be transformed in a similar manner by the end of this year.

“Under the project around 32 stretches of various PWD roads will be beautified. The drive will be intensified during monsoon as that is the perfect plantation season. The saplings that have been already planted will grow and flowers will bloom during monsoon and roads will become more pleasant to the eye,” the official said.

The officials said that other than horticulture work (softscaping), the project also includes hardscaping (stone work on footpaths), pedestrian lighting and surface touching. The civil wing of the department has also started stone work in the form of repairing footpaths at Minto Road.

KT Ravindran, former chairman of Delhi Urban Arts Commission, said that the move will not only make the roads beautiful but also help in “revival” of the city, giving new life to the birds, insects and the environment.

“It is indeed a good initiative and will certainly help in curbing dust pollution and improve the health of the environment. The beautification of roads should be implemented in a scientific way using indigenous trees so that it can provide shade to the cyclists and pedestrians,” he said.

First Published:
May 27, 2019 07:30 IST

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