Urban gardening is gaining quick momentum countrywide. With polluted environment and shrinking green-zones, urban dwellers are focusing on solutions such as roof-top gardening in order to bring down pollution by improving the air quality. Moreover, fresh food and an amicable environment are added benefits of today’s urban gardening.
We cannot ignore the commercial aspect of rooftop gardening these days. Lack of cultivable areas, especially in urban spaces, has inspired many people to follow their passion for gardening at the top of city buildings. Surprisingly in some cases, people are renting other rooftops to make a viable garden. Such gardeners can enjoy chemical-free and organic vegetables along with many kinds of fruits. Eventually, the city gets greener and we get garden-fresh food in our plates.
Dhaka city, ninth-largest, and the sixth-most densely populated city in the world, with a population of over 21 million has been facing the challenge of livability for years. In the yearly residential report of the Economist Intelligence Unit of UK, Dhaka stands at 137 among 140 cities of the world. If we would like to get out of this condition, Dhaka has to be turned into a green city. Besides, according to the decision of the Kyoto Protocol, Japan in 1997, it is compulsory to cultivate spacious gardens on roofs to save the cities from greenhouse effect. In our country, still very few people realize that the roofs need to be filled with greenery.
World Health Organization said in a report that every year 250,000 people are getting cancer in our country and 150 thousand die from it. Sadly, the number is increasing day by day. According to a survey of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the current rate of death caused by cancer is 7.5% in Bangladesh. One of the many reasons for cancer is the consumption of poisonous food. We need to produce pure food to evade such poisoning. We need to turn to organic farming. To meet daily family needs, many people are growing fresh and chemical-free vegetables, fruits, and crops on their rooftop.
Incidentally, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) have taken a number of environment-friendly initiatives. The city corporations give 10 percent holding tax rebate in the first quarter of the fiscal year in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 for people who cultivate on their rooftop.
People, who build new homes, can take experts’ advice for rooftop agriculture. In this case, the architects have a great role to play. They can make gardening an integral part of their designs for buildings. Some of them are doing it right now. However, it can be practiced in a wider scale to create an artistic society around us. Apart from this, people, who have no way to do rooftop gardening, can do it in their balcony.
Rooftop agriculture can be a great solution to reduce carbon, make air quality better and increase oxygen. The government, especially local government, has a role to play like the City Corporations played earlier. Now they can expand and make it mandatory. Furthermore, social gatekeepers like local politicians, public figures, celebrities, social activists, environmentalists, and even religious leaders can influence others for urban gardening regularly. They can show and let people understand about it. In this way, the megacity Dhaka will be green again.
Md. Ashraful Alam
Executive-Marketing & Sales Admin, ACI Fertilizer