City NGO’s bid to popularize rooftop gardening to control pollution
Guwahati is one of the fastest developing cities in the country. With rapid growth of its population, the pace of urbanisation is gathering speed. The flipside of it all is that the green cover within the city and its outskirts has reduced drastically.
The state, on an average, has lost 3,085 square kilometres of forest cover in a span of 28 years. Tree felling and large scale deforestation has been identified as the major reason for forest loss in the state. Apart from this, illegal activities such as mining and hill cutting are also responsible for the rise in global warming and change in climatic condition in the state.
To tackle the growing pollution level in the city, an NGO called Environ is promoting rooftop gardening and farming to increase the green cover in urban areas of the city.
Dr Amarjyoti Kashyap, the chief functionary of the NGO Environ said that they are planning to promote the concept of rooftop gardening in the city and the state to achieve self sustenance and a green environment.
"Rooftop gardening is one of the best solutions to tackle the pollution level in the city. We are living in a concrete environment and trying to popularise the model among the people. If we put the concept into practice, we will see drastic improvement in the climate," said Dr Kashyap.
He added that the people should take up the method to increase the greenery in the city. "If everyone takes up the method then we will slowly see environmental management happening and that will help us get economic benefits from it by planting the plants which will benefit us,” said Dr Kashyap.
Not just the regular garden but Dr Kashyap is also promoting organic rooftop farming for self-sufficiency and healthy eating. "Today almost all the vegetables including the green leafy ones contain high amount of dangerous pesticide. Nowadays you cannot buy vegetables from the market and say that you are eating healthy,” he added.
Dr Kashyap has also installed an artificial fish pond to culture fish on the rooftop. He said, "I always liked to keep fish since childhood and that is the reason why I have installed a rooftop model fishery. Like the way people like keeping an aquarium in their homes, I thought same can be done for farming fish at your home. I have now kept Golden Carp to test the model and later I will bring some other species as well, so that we can get fish from our own mini fishery and not have to buy those fish from the market which have harmful chemicals in them.”
Dr Kashyap’s garden is spread in 400 square feet on the roof. He has also planned to grow a tea plant in his rooftop garden to get fresh pesticide-free domestic organic tea. “I am now promoting domestic organic green tea using solid waste management. The tea leaves available in the market are sprayed with strong pesticides and chemicals which are absolutely bad for our health. Green tea as we know has numerous health benefits and if we can cultivate it at our home organically, we will get the maximum benefit out of it,” said Dr Kashyap.
Dr Kashyap stressed on practising organic and seasonal farming as he said it is very essential in today scenario. Inorganic and off seasonal items are flooding the market which is causing serious health conditions to the people because of the inorganic method that has been used to farm those products.
“If all of us start practicing it, then it will benefit everyone both for physical and mental health. People should think rationally. If there is more greenery, pollution levels will decrease benefiting us physically and having a green environment at your home will help your home will help you de-stress, benefiting you mentally. If it is practised, it will be a revolutionary step towards a healthier society,” said Dr Kashyap.
Solid waste management key to greener environment
Guwahati is facing a huge crisis in terms of waste management as there is no concrete method to manage the huge pile of solid waste and segregating it from bio-degradable waste has become a matter of concern for the environment in the city. For example, the dump yard located in Boragaon is posing a continuous threat to the ecology of Deepor Beel.
“80 percent of the total generated waste from households is bio degradable waste, and if we can manage this waste at our home itself, the waste that we will dispose outside will be very less and those will be dry waste, that will help in reducing the pollution level,” said Dr Amarjyoti Kashyap.
He added that people will have to adapt this technique and for that Dr Kashyap has designed a waste assimilator. “Many people will not have the space to practice the traditional backyard composting method to manage waste. For that I have designed a waste assimilator that would require just one to one and half foot space to set it up. Now, with this process people can start composting their kitchen and other biodegradable waste on daily basis,” said Dr Kashyap.
He further said that the compost and liquid that will be generated from the assimilator can be used as organic fertilizer for the garden. “I believe that if we start practicing such methods at our home, I am sure that our future generation will have an access to a greener, cleaner and healthier environment. This method will make the practitioners self-sufficient and they will consume healthy organic food,” Dr Kashyap said in conclusion.