Neha Misra, Estate Manager – Tata Housing shares a handful of apartment-centric tips to reduce/prevent pollution in Delhi/NCR’s housing societies.
It is the time of the year for people living in the NCR. They are masking up doubly in light of the increasing pollution.
Emissions from vehicles and other industrial activities are at an all-time high and the AQI (air quality index) remains to be unhealthy as the atmosphere is encompassed with smog.
Given this situation, the Delhi government has imposed several restrictions including a ban on construction works (one of the highest contributors) to combat pollution. While the Delhi government is contemplating the imposition of the odd-even rule in the city, the Haryana government has already enforced it in four districts.
If you are someone who is living in a housing society, what can you do to protect your surroundings as much as possible from this pollution menace? In this article, Neha Misra, Estate Manager – Tata Housing shares a handful of apartment-centric tips.
Neha, who is currently managing Primanti Garden Estate in Sector 72, Gurugram and New Haven Bahadurgarh at Jhajjar, Road Bahadurgarh for TATA insists on having indoor plants for she reckons they not only beautify the building but also act as natural air-purifiers.
“Snake plant, money plant, areca palm, spider palm plant, bamboo palm, the beautiful peace lily, and the succulent and medicinal aloe vera are some of the air-purifying plants we have potted throughout the buildings, in common areas, yoga room, clubhouse, etc,” Neha said.
These plants are better than commercial air-purifiers any day since they are natural, harmless, and absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen which refreshes the air.
Wise use of recycled water
Recycling water and smart use of recycled water is one way to reduce excess water consumption. “We use recycled water for our horticulture purposes and to water plants,” Neha said.
In both Primanti Garden Estate and New Haven Bahadurgarh, Neha and her team have implemented one innovative approach to ensure that the outside dust doesn’t waft into the societies.
“In the morning, we spray this recycled water on the road outside and inside of the societies so that the dust settles in and does not blow into the societies.”
Zero-construction and reduced manpower
Since there is a ban on construction in and around Delhi, developers, including Tata Housing are not engaged in any construction works. This will likely have an impact on the pollution and is expected to improve the AQI.
Apart from respecting the ban and diligently following government rules, Neha and her team have implemented a few other restrictions to reduce air pollution in their societies. Speaking about these she said, “ we have limited the number of people entering the societies for any work inside. We have also put restrictions on certain repair works such as tile replacement or break of walls since these will spread more dust adding to the pollution. These initiatives are helping us reduce air pollution in our complexes at least”.
Neha hopes that the pollution levels will come down and the AQI will improve in the coming weeks so that the ban will be lifted and they can resume the construction works.
Switch from diesel to gas generators
Housing societies in the NCR are looking to switch from diesel to gas generators as per the government’s advice. Neha said that once all the societies make the switch, it will have a profound impact on the surroundings and will be the biggest contributor towards reducing pollution.
Though this will be challenging for already constructed buildings (they have installed diesel generators only), she believes this transition is the need of the hour.
Choosing ash bricks over red bricks
Neha emphasised that Tata Housing uses ash bricks instead of red clay bricks for all their building.
Ash bricks are produced using the waste materials coming from coal combustion in thermal plants. Whereas clay bricks are made using clay collected from the topsoil or fertile land. This makes ash bricks the top choice here since it is more eco-friendly.
It is worth mentioning that ash bricks are stronger than red bricks.
When asked about what can societies across the country can do immediately to reduce the pollution levels in their complexes, Neha said there are no shortcuts here.
“From placing air-purifying plants to utilising treated water effectively, these are the major initiatives we do to combat this pollution. Societies should install STPs (Sewage Treatment Plant) to reuse water. Well, it is impossible to stop water wastage thoroughly but we can minimise it as much as possible. Likewise, societies should recycle and reuse anything and everything they can like garbage, RO water, and segregate waste and ensure that minimum waste exits their apartment complex.
Societies should also service diesel generators often to ensure that excess emissions are not released into the atmosphere. These are some of the things societies can do operationally to ensure minimum waste is exerted into the environment”.
She insists on planting more trees and said that Tata Housing actively conducts plantation drives in all their housing societies at least once in six months or every quarter.
Neha uttered that humans are the sole contributors to the ongoing pollution crisis and therefore it is our responsibility to minimise the damage as much as possible. “The Government has set out guidelines to follow and we must factor them in and follow it diligently. We have come to a state that today children are born with breathing issues. Ultimately, we are reaping what we sow. If we do not try and control pollution today, things are not going to be any better tomorrow. To give a clean and green environment to our future generation, we have to act now”, Neha concluded, and we couldn’t agree more.
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