Needless to say, air pollution is a serious health hazard in our country and at least two-thirds of the world’s most polluted cities are in India. But thankfully, due to increased awareness, many individuals and organizations are now doing their bit to improve air quality and bring about the much-needed change. Also Read - Plastic-Free India: Soon, Eco-Friendly 'Kulhads' to Replace Plastic Tea Cups at All Indian Railway Stations

One of them is Rohit Mehra, Additional Commissioner in the Income Tax Department, who has created vertical gardens in Ludhiana using waste plastic bottles in an attempt to reduce air pollution. Using at least 70 tonnes of waste plastic bottles as pots, he has set up more than 500 vertical gardens at public places. Also Read - First in India! Road From Plastic Waste To Soon Come up in Noida, Construction Kicks Off | See Pics

When asked how this idea came to his mind, Mehra told ANI, “Four years ago, my child told me that the school had declared holidays due to high air pollution. This set me thinking, wondered why we could not even provide clean air to our children. The push came from there.”

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These vertical gardens have been set up in schools, colleges, gurudwaras, churches, police stations, government offices and railway stations.

“It is a cost-effective and space-efficient solution for urban greenery. The vertical gardens also save the environment as you reuse plastic wastes as pots. Thanks to drip irrigation, these gardens save 92 per cent water,” added Mehra.

On the issue of improving air quality, Mehra said, “A scientist from Punjab Agricultural University had conducted a study in the areas where there is a vertical garden and found 75 per cent reduction in pollution as per the air quality index (AQI) of the city.”

Mehra said the main objective of establishing these gardens is to convey the message to people so that they replicate the same in their homes. Mehra is popular as the ‘Green Man’ in Ludhiana.

(With ANI inputs)