By Khushali Tulsian:
India is the world’s fourth largest emitter of CO2. According to the CarbonBrief, India’s CO2 emissions grew by an estimated 4.6% in 2017, despite a turbulent year for its economy. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said, “It is unacceptable that over 3 billion people – most of them women and children – are still breathing deadly smoke every day from using polluting stoves and fuels in their homes.”
The team at Enactus, Lady Shri Ram College is a community of passionate students committed to creating a new generation of socially responsible leaders. It started its momentous journey in 2012 cumulating enthusiastic participation by over 300+ student volunteers, across 5 community development projects, namely, Maati, Yuvaakti, Kalakaashi, Auric and Utthaan. It aims to provide students a platform through which they can help society by inculcating an entrepreneurial spirit.
Keeping in mind this calamitous issue, the team at Enactus LSR contemplated and conceptualized Project Utthaan, an initiative to curb the rising air pollution given by promoting vertical garden services in the city.
Launched in 2017, the project trained four nursery workers at Jam Jam Nursery, Noida by providing them with technical knowledge and hands-on skills. Enactus LSR collaborated with many organisations to help the target community set up a sustainable livelihood. This project also assisting the nursery workers in acquiring a stable client base for future business.
A vertical garden is a wall that is partially or completely covered with green plants, and is integrated with a water delivery system. This sustainable design qualifies for a ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ certification via the United States Green Building Council, and is the ultimate solution for growing metropolises. It acts as a sound proofing barrier, insulates and cools the building, envelopes and cleans inferior air pollutants. It is also the perfect blend of social and corporate benefits known for increasing foot traffic in retail squares, curb appeal of estates and embracing the symbiotic relationship between nature and different life forms.
Project Utthaan aims to significantly improve the lives of its beneficiaries by assisting them, overcoming challenges of rent payment during lean season and competition from free market players. The demand of vertical gardens is independent of season, thus, enabling the community to combat the seasonal fluctuations that they currently face. Additionally, the vertical gardening service will create a new avenue for income with access to a wide customer base. The inventory of plants which will be maintained owing to the demand created by the project will further set them apart from their competitors.
The project has also helped the members of Enactus LSR understand a different world view. “The workers have been trained very well to do the entire installation process on their own. We aim to make them adept at soft skills, book-keeping and other requisites they’ll need to handle clients in future. Utthaan is primarily an initiative from our side to contribute to the green of our nation’s capital,” says Mahima Mimani, the Project Head of Utthaan.
In the words of R. Buckminster Fuller, “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we have been ignorant of their value.”
The vision behind this project is to diversify the use of nurseries for economic growth, skill enhancement of the community and tackling the problem of air pollution via creating green spaces in urban cities. This purpose-built project revolves around the theme of ‘Earth, Equality and Ethics’ and is a significant step in empowering lesser privileged communities. Enactus LSR hopes to work with the same zeal honouring the vision of Enactus, ‘Creating a better, more sustainable world.’