Abaza calls for expanding practice of building roof gardens to limit pollution

Egyptian Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza said it has become vital to begin building roof gardens throughout Egyptian cities to fight pollution and the infamous black cloud of smog. He said an initiative has already been started in some new cities which have begun growing vegetables on the roofs to fight price rises and meet some of the residents’ needs.

During the Growing Greener Cities symposium launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Abaza stressed the importance of this initiative in light of the growing population. He also warned of increased pollution caused by car exhaust fumes, and the increased number of buildings including residential buildings, schools, hospitals and factories which have meant less green spaces.

He said the initiative is aimed at minimizing the effects of global warming and the desertification which is affecting Egypt's agricultural areas.

In Abaza's speech which was presented by President of Egypt's Agricultural Research Centre (ARC) Ayman Farid Abou Hadid, he said the initiative is currently being implemented in both Cairo and Alexandria.

In Cairo, the initiative is being implemented in al-Shorouk, 6 October and 10 Ramadan Cities. He said the Cairo Governor had suggested that roof gardens also be built on top of government building located below the 6 October and 15 May Bridges which would beautify the city and reduce pollution.

He said the technology being used to build the roof gardens provide takes precautions to make the process safe and simple. He went on to say that these roof gardens provide many benefits such as reducing air pollutants and reducing respiratory diseases, as they reduce carbon dioxide and increase oxygen levels in the air.

He said that just one square meter of vegetation growth has the capacity to remove 100g of air pollutants annually and that growing pesticide-free vegetables is profitable and will provide the families' needs and fight price rises.

Abaza added that these gardens can be used to grow medical and aromatic herbs and vegetables which would allow more agricultural land to be used for important crops such as rice and wheat.

He went on to say that roof gardens help prolong the life span of buildings by protecting the roof from damaging sun rays as well as aiding in temperature controls which will help  cut cooling costs in summer by 50 percent and heating costs by 25 percent.

During his speech at the symposium, Qalyubiya governor Adli Hussein said there were few green areas in Cairo which has become a concrete jungle and that it needed more green areas to limit the desertification affecting many residential areas. Hussein called for the initiative to take place in Qalyubia to help with the governorates problems of pollution and spread of garbage dumps.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.



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