India is entering a new stage of eco-conscious development. After the boom of the past few decades created some of the biggest, most polluted metropolises in the world, urban Indians are now beginning to place a premium on clean air and healthy surroundings. It’s no coincidence that this shift in attitudes has coincided with the rise of gated communities, which offer residents curated greens, and an oasis of health and tranquility.
At a very basic level, this has reinforced the connection between the proportion of green cover and the general health of surroundings. It’s also bringing other associated benefits of these urban islands of greenery to the fore, like reduced dust and suspended particulate content, giving respite to those with respiratory issues. And while the soothing shades of green invites residents outside, the healthier air invigorates the body and provides zest to workout routines as well.
Some of these finer planting techniques, like the Miyawaki forests developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, create green covers that are about thirty times denser than traditional plantations and grow into stable pioneer forests ten times quicker than usual. These techniques build healthy phytosociological relations between different plant species, by arranging shrubs and undergrowth, a subtree layer formed with shorter plants, a tree layer and a tall canopy layer adjacent to each other. Not only does this provide the ideal conditions for the growth of each species and plant type, it also enhances biodiversity and aesthetic appeal of the foliage. The multilayered, dense growth is also better at reducing noise and dust and estimated to be about thirty times better at absorbing carbon dioxide.
Beyond the esoteric health advantages of greater green cover, there are also structural and ambient advantages of having more plants around homes. Setting aside space for green cover creates air channels, which encourages ventilation in and around the residential complexes. Invariably, homes that are surrounded by greenery have access to better quality sunshine, which helps sterilize and freshen the air inside. These are only some of the many ways in which modern afforestation techniques enhance health and well-being. Little wonder then, that they are also projected to raise property values in the vicinity.
This trend of greener residential areas doesn’t just benefit people who live there, but it also has a cumulative effect, which augments the overall ecosystem of an urban agglomeration. These stretches of green go a long way in reversing the decline in air quality of the city and beyond and help re-balance natural cycles throughout the region. With new afforestation techniques promoting efficient planting efforts, creating green covers within residential complexes could become the cheapest way to sustain and cleanse the environment.
-By Deepak Nair, Head-Marketing, JP Infra Mumbai Pvt. Ltd.