Do you know those pillars at the side of the highway? The grey, boring ones, often covered in pigeon droppings? The Via Verde project is turning at least 1,000 of them into vertical gardens, housing 2.2 plants around the city. Other than making those pillars look prettier, covering them with plants has other advantages. For starters, the plants will help with pollution as they will absorb the smog and CO2 from passing cars. Also, they will absorb the noise and heat in the bustling city. Another advantage of having more greenery around the city is that it can help with stress and anxiety some of the city dwellers might be facing.
Not only is this project incredibly beneficial, but it is also sustainably built. The vertical gardens are completely made of recycled plastic, and that’s not even all of it! The gardens are also fitted with a self-sustaining rainwater irrigation system. After collecting and storing the water, the system hydrates the plants without using the city’s drinking water. The project even made sure to use plants that not need much hydration, to begin with, to make the gardens as water-efficient as possible.
And it gets even better
The Via Verde gardens will also be contributing to the community in a whole new way. Someone has to build them, right? This means more employment opportunities for the people of the city. Most specifically, inmates on their way to rebuilding their lives. They will build the infrastructure construction and maintain the gardens as a way of earning some money and gaining work experience before being released back into the job market. So far, two correctional facilities have signed up to take part in the project — the Oriente Men’s Preventive Detention Center and the Santa Marta Acatitla Women’s Social Reintegration Center. The inmates from both prisons will be in charge of various tasks, such as overseeing plant health and weaving them into the hydroponic textile that will be wrapped around the highway pillars. This way, they will have skills to offer future employers once they immerse themselves back into society.