NEW DELHI: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has spent over Rs 5 crore from 2017 to 2022 on vertical gardens, the response to a Right to Information (RTI) Act query filed by an advocate revealed. Most of the vertical gardens have now dried up in the absence of due care.
The situation is especially bad in East Delhi. As per the RTI query filed by Siddhartha Malkania, the Municipal Corporation (East) spent more than Rs 1.51 crore on the plantation and management of seven vertical gardens in Shahdara zone, and most of them are in poor state. EMCD also installed a vertical garden for Rs 1.66 crore at a primary school in Mayur Vihar Pocket 4. When the Morning Standard visited this school, the garden was found in bad shape.
Meanwhile, the RTI response also showed that the Corporation has not conducted any study about whether these gardens help in controlling pollution. The Municipal Corporation (North) refused to provide the amount spent on vertical gardens but stated that it has installed 27 of them. “This information is voluminous and is readily not available,” the NDMC said in response.
The Municipal Corporation (South) fared better, with the gardens found in healthier conditions. A total of 10 vertical gardens have been installed by the corporation since 2017, at a cost of more than `2.40 crore. The civic body said that though the life of these vertical gardens has expired, 70 percent greenery still exists.
According to Vikrant Tongad, founder, Social Action for Forest and Environment, these types of gardens are not suitable for Indian weather and instead add to plastic pollution. “We opposed it with strong reasons. The weather in Delhi NCR doesn’t support vertical gardens,” Tongad said. “It is successful in European countries. They look visually appealing here but have no environmental value. The carrier is plastic, which releases more pollutant gases and is carcinogenic.”
Tongad added that people also pilfer the plastic boxes in which the plants are grown. “Many cases of the plants being stolen have been reported. This is wastage of public money,” he said. The Morning Standard tried to get in touch with the EDMC and NDMC officials, but got no response.
South civic body fares better than others
The Municipal Corporation (South) fared better, with the gardens found in healthier conditions. A total of 10 vertical gardens were installed, at a cost of more than Rs 2.40 crore.