BMC to spend ₹2.5 crore on 2,000 bougainvillea pots for flyovers | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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BMC to spend 2.5 crore on 2,000 bougainvillea pots for flyovers

Feb 09, 2024 07:16 AM IST

The civic body has opted for this decorative plant as, apart from its aesthetic quotient, it is a sturdy plant which the BMC hopes will survive Mumbai’s abysmal Air Quality Index (AQI) levels

MUMBAI: After last year’s wasteful expenditure in the name of beautification, in which the BMC spent 44.64 crore on sprucing up central medians and dividers alone, the garden department is now set to splurge 2.50 crore more to beautify the dividers of 20 city bridges. This time the ornamentation will be done with bougainvillea plants.

BMC to spend <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2.5 crore on 2,000 bougainvillea pots for flyovers
BMC to spend 2.5 crore on 2,000 bougainvillea pots for flyovers

The civic body has opted for this decorative plant as, apart from its aesthetic quotient, it is a sturdy plant which the BMC hopes will survive Mumbai’s abysmal Air Quality Index (AQI) levels. “The tender notice has been published,” said an official from the BMC’s garden department. “We will place 2,000 pots on the dividers of 20 flyovers from next month. The bougainvillea plant requires less water and is a hardy plant that survives pollution.”

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A research paper titled ‘Bougainvillea: A Pollution- and Drought-Tolerant Plant’ by Suresh Chandra Sharma and Yogesh Kumar Sharma from CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, supports the BMC’s claims. ‘Bougainvillea is a pollution-tolerant plant and can help in the mitigation of air pollution besides its ornamental value in landscaping,’ states the paper. ‘It is also drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant, and wind-resistant. Bougainvillea glabra for vehicular pollution showed tolerance against stress as depicted by its greater air pollution tolerance index (APTI). Therefore, this plant is suggested as a model plant to be grown on the roads to reduce particulate matter, owing to its high dust-trapping capacity in addition to its tolerance.’

Vaibhav Raje, arborist and founder of TreecoTech pointed out the flaw in the BMC’s decision. “Sure, it has aesthetic appeal and can survive pollution,” he said. “But from the ecological point of view, there is not much benefit, as the BMC is going to put up potted plants, not plant trees to benefit the environment.”

Activist Nimish Malde had raised the issue of the flowering plants put up on the foot-over-bridge pillars outside Jogeshwari Station last year by the BMC in a similar ‘beautification’ attempt. “All the plants wilted,” he said. “The BMC is not capable of maintaining them. This experiment has been a disaster in many places, including on the road outside Byculla’s Rani Bagh. It is a sheer waste of taxpayers’ money with no accountability.”

The BMC nevertheless is gung-ho about the bougainvillea pots. Some bridges chosen for its endeavour are the Western Express Highway, the flyover from BKC to Vakola, Milan Flyover, Lalbagh flyover, Magathane flyover, Sudhir Phadke flyover and the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road.

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