Greener Interiors for the Urban Resident: Campaign-2020

Thanks to the suffering we are facing on account of pollution, concern for safeguarding the environment is at its peak. Air pollution, including indoor air pollution, is perhaps as damaging as most other forms of pollution, especially to children and senior citizens apart from women who spend more time than men in the house. As we all know, the atmosphere sustains life in nature by providing oxygen for humans to breathe and carbon dioxide for plants to make food. 

Air clean and not so clean
We the humans consume oxygen in the air and leave carbon dioxide into the air; whereas all green plants and trees consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen into the air. In addition, plants absorb water of all kinds and purify it and to make it good for human consumption. Most plants keep the atmosphere humid. This is a life process of all living organisms in nature. The ambient air is a mixture of many gases, some of which are poisonous to humans. There are also dust particles and harmful smoke in the air, especially in urban areas with heavy traffic. When harmful gases are mixed with water vapour in the air, they lead to acid rains. Some of these gases are making holes in the ozone layer in the atmosphere, which allows the harmful ultra-violet rays of the Sun to reach the Earth and touch the human skin. Further, carbon dioxide increases the heat in the atmosphere and is melting the ice in the polar regions. Yet, man has always been clearing forests to gain space for his expanding needs of food, shelter, and other activities, as a consequence of which there is a constant injection of highly polluting chemicals into the air and soil. 

Since the trees and plants make many chemical changes and environmental transformations, and produce good effects on human beings, we can easily understand the necessity to plant as many of them 
In brief, since the trees and plants make many chemical changes and environmental transformations, and produce good effects on human beings, we can easily understand the necessity to plant as many of them as possible and also in as many places as possible. The plants and trees wherever they are, they capture the tiny dust particles in the air and retain them on their leaves. In spite of our best efforts to plant appropriate trees in public places in the urban areas, we are yet to fully succeed in avoiding wastage and collateral damage due to lack of research, investment and appropriate technologies.

I. Now, we are proposing an immediate and partial solution which can solve many of the existential problems of the urban residents, and in which the urban residents can directly act to make India greener, and thereby enhance the quality of life for all. The urban families should see, irrespective of the season, rains or no rains, that there is a beautiful and lush green plant in each room in our houses, in our schools, in our offices, in our shops and in our eateries and also at the windows, balconies, desks and counters. There should be hanging pots of plants in the corridors, common halls and in the stairs in each building. There is scope for roof gardens, vegetable gardens, and the compound walls of all the residential buildings, instead of being white, should be green, with sturdy and semi-arid creepers, which do not require much water. The apartment-buildings can have flowering plants and fruit-tress in the corners of the parking areas, and in other set-back areas. All the plants and trees in the apartment-buildings can be planted and named after the children in the building, on the occasion of their birthdays. Many private establishments are generously installing decorative plants in their efforts to beautify the interior. It has become a common practice in all new buildings, including all residences and establishments to occupy the public space that lies beyond their compound wall along the roads and to maintain greenery up to 4 to 6 feet width, with metallic fencing. This may be tolerated by the municipal authorities if it does not put the pedestrians and the vehicles into inconvenience.

II. By doing so, there is a direct and immediate benefit to those who are sitting or standing or working close to these plants, and those who are nurturing them. All human beings, whatever their age would feel the soothing effect of the shapes and colours of the greenery. Their close presence would reduce the mental stress, strain and anxieties and aggression in human relations. Children would learn the secrets of nature, improve their faculties of touch, smell, forms and shapes, and develop a taste for beauty. Let us take the habit of gifting beautiful plants on all occasions.

III. The managers of the resident welfare associations should indicate to the residents, where they can procure these specific plants either from the local municipal officers or from the nearby nurseries or online. Let us synchronise this with the campaign of the local municipal corporation, as we have always been doing. A list of the nearby places, where some of the domestic plants can be procured is, usually available with them. In addition, choosing oneself a nice plant among many from a nearby nursery on the footpath would not only create employment for others but also, it would be a pleasant stroll. Further, on the Internet, a lot of information is available. One can consult some on-line nurseries for desired photos, names, price and for delivery. Many new ideas and experiments are being introduced on the You-Tube and other social media. Many supplements of the newspapers are also highlighting the beneficiary effects of raising at home many traditional herbs in the preparation of foods and beverages as well as remedies for day-to-day health problems.

All the above such efforts that are taking place in their building or in the colony should be encouraged by rewarding the greenest and the most beautiful mini-garden house or flat or shop or school or office by the local Senior Citizens Association or the Resident Welfare Association at their monthly and annual meetings. All occasions of national events like the Independence Day, the Republic Day or campaigns for Swatch Bharat, etc. could be utilised for making India greener. The flag hoisting can be done by those who are locally fighting to free us from the pollutions, such as the street-sweeper, sewage-cleaners, domestic helper, health, food and sanitation inspectors, scientists, nursery owners, entrepreneurs and salespersons.

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