Vertical Gardens Lessen Air Pollution

March 17, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. lush (adj.) – rich and full, usually describing the quality of plants in an area
Example:  There is a lush growth of plants in rain forests.

2. aesthetic (adj.) – relating or concerned with beauty or art
Example: Clothing should have both aesthetic and practical quality.

3. grimy (adj.) – covered with dirt
Example: Wash your grimy hands before eating.

4. particle (n.) – a tiny piece of anything
Example: Dust particles irritated my eye.

5. filter (v.) – to remove unwanted substance from something by allowing it to pass through a device
Example: We can filter water by passing it through cloth.

Read the text below.

In some cities in UK, lush gardens growing on building walls have given new life to the concrete jungle of the metro. These “vertical gardens” provide not only aesthetic qualities, but also actual benefits, including cleaner air.

British company Biotecture builds and designs such green walls. With the use of a "modular hydroponic system," plants grow without soil on building walls and receive nutrients through water pipes. The system can be made to fit any building wall.

Biotecture creative director, Mark Laurence, says that vertical gardens can also improve air quality. One of the company’s projects is the 200-square meter wall on the side of Edgware Road Underground Station in London. The wall is near one of the UK's grimiest city roads.

According to Laurence, researchers from London’s Imperial college regularly take and wash samples of the leaves on the wall, to see how much pollution particles the leaves have collected.

In areas with narrow roads, Laurence says vertical gardens would do better than trees in cleaning air. In these places, air usually moves around building walls. With vertical gardens, air can be filtered before it reaches the streets below where people breathe it.

Additionally, vertical gardens may someday be used to grow vegetables in less polluted areas for extra food supply. Biotecture successfully grew 45 kinds of vegetables in an experiment.

Many people are even building their own vertical gardens, adds Laurence. He believes their popularity is due to people wanting more environment-friendly services and designs in the city.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

     Would you want to have gardens on the buildings of the city you live in? Why or why not?
     What can be the disadvantages of growing plants on building walls?

Discussion B

     Is air pollution a problem in your country? What do you think causes air pollution?
     What is the best way of solving air pollution?


March 17, 2012