• Thursday, Sep 20, 2018
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Spring clean the air

  • Published at 05:29 pm August 16th, 2018
WT_Aug 16_18
Photo: Saudia Afrin

‘Gaccher Hospital (Plants Hospital)’ by Green Savers can help you fulfill the dream of owning a garden in the heart of the capital with maintenance assistance

On August 14, the Internet was taken over by the news about Dhaka being the 2nd least livable city on earth among 140 cities ranked by The Economist Intelligence Unit annual global survey. On a range of factors, including political, social stability, crime, education, culture, environment and access to healthcare, Dhaka scored an overall 38 out of a possible score of 100. 

Furthermore, according to a recent Environmental Performance Index (EPI) report, Bangladesh is ranked as the second worst country in terms of curbing environmental pollution including especially cleaning up air quality, protecting biodiversity, and reducing GHG emissions. These pictures certainly are a matter for concern for the country’s population.    

In terms of global warming, Bangladesh is among the countries most at risk. Big and small Initiatives in collaboration with the Department of Environment are looking for as well working on feasible and diversified solutions. Green Savers is one such initiative fighting against global warming by enhancing the functions of plants within the urban ecosystem.   

With the growing population around the country, especially in the capital left with no option, a decreasing portion is dedicated to greenery. It is hard to get any space where greenery can be introduced in the cramped megacity. 

Green Savers has come up with an alternative by encouraging people to set up rooftop gardens. Founder and President of the organization Ahsan Rony says Dhaka has about four lakh multistoried buildings suitable for being converted to gardens to combat recent environmental challenges. “However, the truth is only two percent of rooftops have such facilities,” Rony said.

A resident of Green Road, Happy Akhter, a nature-lover since childhood, set-up a rooftop garden two years back with help of her elder son Akash. Happy ruefully says she had to withdraw from the garden due to maintenance crisis, including pest control, damp generation from irrigation, etc. that gradually led rejection by other residents of the apartment she mentioned.

Owning a garden no more a dream 

Green Savers supports keen souls from setting up the garden to maintenance in their Garden Maintenance service. “Interested people just need to tell us their preferences; Green Savers’ Plant Doctor team will assist them in every possible way.  Other than paying the cost they don’t have to worry about anything else,” Rony said. 

The cost of setting up a garden will entirely depend on the size of the roof, as well as plant preference. Rony says there are two types of gardening: low-cost gardening and aesthetic gardening. “While consulting, we always try to convince clients to cultivate vegetable plants such as garlic, chilli and lettuce leaf. For instance, four green chilli plants in four different tubs are sufficient for an average family,” Rony said. Green Savers is also campaigning in their garden maintenance service for the use of organic fertilizer and pesticide. Peels of different vegetable and fruits are used in this process he mentioned.  

 Since their inception, the organization has completed 3600 rooftop gardens. Currently, they are providing garden maintenance service in 196 roofs. Recipients can avail the maintenance service from one to three days per week. For one day per week, which means 4 days a month will cost minimum Tk1300, whereas two days will cost around Tk3000. Also, anyonene can seek assistance for only one day and that will cost about Tk500. Location of the house may add another Tk150 to Tk200 more. Photos: Green Savers

 

Plants Doctor in town 

Currently, Green Savers are armed with about 19 Plant Doctors to bestow assistance with every likely avenue related to urban greenery including rooftop gardening and indoor decoration with suitable indoor plants. Holding an inspiring aim of breaking the existing stereotypical mindset associated with the profession of a gardener in our country,  Rony says city gardening is run typically by the people affiliated with nurseries who may have limited knowledge about it. The eight years old organization initially worked with a bunch of existing nursery consultants. “The experience left us with the shocking revelation of their imperfect understanding in certain cases regarding gardening and running the show with old methods that have been proven unfriendly to the environment by modern agricultural technology, For instance suggesting certain pesticides that have long been banned and/or obsolete.”

On the flip side, the young generation with agricultural education not only stay away because of the stereotypes but also because of the lack of appropriate job allocation. Many such talented youths end up working for sectors that don’t allow them to flourish with their knowledge.       

“Meanwhile, growing a culture of urban greenery with eco-friendly as well as organic agricultural methods is a challenge.  Green Savers is advocating to engage and empower people with agricultural education,” Rony said.                

Weekend Tribune spoke with Plant doctor Sajedul Islam while he was nurturing a rooftop garden in the Lake Circus area.  A lover of greenery since childhood, Sajedul has been involved with Green Savers as a plant doctor for three months. A diploma graduate from Agriculture Training Institute, Khulna, he said, “Through this profession, I can contribute to Mother Nature through my four years of learning from the institute.” For a fairly small garden, Plant Doctors invest minimum 1.5 hours to care for the plants by watering, pruning and if needed, pest control. However, a moderately big garden with more than 30 to 50 plants needs often more than 2.5 hours, said the 20 year–old who is now pursuing a BBA in Agribusiness at a private university. Showing gratitude to the organization for helping him to study while continuing his job, “I like the way the garden owners believe in my capacity and respect my work. I want to dedicate my learning of agriculture to the improvement of urban greenery,” Sajedul said.

How to get the service 

Anyone can get their services online or just by a phone call. Anyone seeking any assistance regarding any  queries regarding roof gardening can download the app named Plant's Doctor, joint venture of Green Savers and The United Nations Volunteers(UNV) on the Google play store. From prescription, diagnosis to basic information about roof gardening can be found in the app. Contact them at 01558166264

Good news brought by Gaccher Hospital for Eid 

Thousands of people are leaving the city for upcoming Eid vacation. Anyone worried about who will look after their plants during the vacation, can now avail Plant Hospital’s special service to solve this problem. They can drop the plants off by themselves or call 01920111666 for a Plant Ambulance to bring their plants to be cared for by the plant doctors. This service will cost only Tk1 per day per plant. 

A few tips by Plant Doctors

The festival demands some sort of revamping of the home. This time why not bring life to your home with some indoor plants?  The plant doctor has given five basic tips for indoor plants.  

1.    Select the placement carefully. The plant needs access to air and light (the east and west side of the house are good places to put them), and be kept away from electronic home appliances. 

2.    Measuring the amount of water for plant is essential 

3.    Keep the plants dust  and germ free by cleaning them every two or three days  

4.    Providing nutritious and adequate food.

5.    Timely pruning and trimming. 

Air purifier plants 

1.    Laceleaf

2.    Areca palm 

3.    Chinese palm 

4.    Rhapis excelsa palm 

5.    Money Plant 

6.    Snake Plant 

7.    Dumb canes / Dieffenbachia 

8.    Dracaena 

9.    Philodendron

10.    Swiss cheese plant

11.    Sago palm

12.    Chinese Evergreen 

13.    Pichutia Palm 

14.    Alocasia 

15.    Boston Fern 

16.    Aloe vera