Green Wall Project at Govt Middle School, Neelankarai

Monday, October 10, 2016
What happens when ambitious individuals join together and plan something ??? We come out with crazy ideas 😜😜😜
One such crazy idea is the Green Wall 😁😁😁
If you can dream it, you can do it - Walt Disney

Who are we? 
Team Neelankarai Ninjas was formed as part of CTC's annual 'Chennai Coastal Cleanup 7' event and is carrying on with the Community Development activities in Neelankarai. Together with CESAW, our efforts at the PUMS Govt Middle School is inching towards helping students develop eco-friendly life-style and habits with sessions such as Say-No-To Plastics, Composting, Paper Crafts etc. 

After 3 continuous weeks of engagement in the school, we suggested to setup a Green Wall at the Neelankarai school on 16th of September, 2016. The H.M got very excited and she said proceed immediately 😎😎😎. We were pretty much amazed with such a support and we scheduled the event for the 21st of October, taking into account the preparation that's required to implement a project that is First-of-it's-kind in Chennai. .
Pre Event Preparations:

  • Water Bottles
    • We explained the project to the students and they brought around 10 bottles
    • We tried to gather a few bottles from the surroundings/clean up drives. Unfortunately we mostly found 1/2 litre bottles which were of no use based on our plans
    • We contacted Mr. Raghupathi of Kabaleeshwarar Nagar Association, on Wednesday requesting his help for the bottles. Guess what.. on Friday when we went to the school for our regular visit, he was there with 50+ bottles that was collected from all the houses in Neelankarai Kabaleeshwarar Nagar Association. We were super excited and thanked him profusely for his immediate support.
Mr. Raghubathi - Kabaleeshwarar Nagar Association
    • All such collected bottles were washed & cleaned by our ultras of the team Ahamed Hanifa & Avinash Anbu & kept at Peter's place.
  • Plants
    • The choice of plants was governed by the facts such as: Medicinal Plants, Shallow Root, low maintenance
    • After much discussion within Neelankarai Ninjas team, we chose Karpooravalli/Omam, Thoothuvalai, Thulasi, and Button/Table Rose 
    • Except button/table rose, the rest of them are medicinal plants providing simple cure for common ailments such as cold, cough, indigesion and headache. 
    • Plant cuttings and seeds were gathered from homes of Neelankarai Ninjas
  • Compost for Plants
    • It was important that the plants needed nourishment. We decided to harvest the manure from the composting done by individuals at their homes. 
    • Sai Karthick brought around 2 Kgs, and a few others brought their compost as well
    • Required soil was collected from Peter's house. 
  • Wall Suspension
    • This was the most trickiest part as the wall had no points for suspension of bottled-plants
  • The architect master mind of our team Ar Dilip Srinivasan visited the place and after weighing in various option for the structure of the green wall it was finalised to prepare a flat framework(an iron rod - 30 feet in length) like structure & fix on wall & hang the bottles through steel wires
  • There were other ptions too - but none proved feasible:
    • Drilling of wall & Fixing : Wall made of Karunkal so very tough to drill & high chances of drill & wall getting damaged
    • Using nails for suspending : Weight of bottles cannot be supported on drill as we plan to have 4 bottles in a row
    • Using of Round steel bars(Muruku kambi): Though cheaper per kg then the flat one(Patta kambis) we need to buy Double the weight (equalling the cost of flat ones)& due has high chance of bending due to heavy weight & also it cannot be riveted & fit
    • Using of Flat steel bars : Costlier than round ones but can be riveted & fit , easy for us to fit the steel wires. Easy to dismantle as no welding is done but just screwed.
  • As stated above we chose the flat(Patta kambi) steel bars as it looked more elegant & easier to fix.The flat steel bars were given for welding & it was collected a day before the event & kept at school.

The Event Day:
On event day, we started with a slight delay. Sagayam had arrived earlier & with help of CTC's volunteers fixed the clamps and rods on the wall to suspend the bottles with plants.
Manure & soil were brought by our Sai Karthick from his own home compost.
We arrived with the washed bottles from Peter's place , immediately started dividing the CTC volunteers & the children of the school into four teams and assigned them the following tasks  :

  1. Cutting of bottles 
  2. Filling Mud & Manure in bottles
  3. Planting the seeds/plants
  4. Fixing the bottles on Green wall

"A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it."

Nothing is challenging for the CTCians, they did a beautiful job of not only completing the given tasks but also guiding the children in filling the cut bottles with soil, manure & planting the saplings😊😊😊
Dilip planned out how the bottles have to suspended & guided with the execution of the technique. This was followed by all of us & the bottles were hung from the fixed steel fixtures with support of the enthusiastic children.
Once all the bottles were hung, and the plants were watered, we gathered together the children and clicked some group pics & lots of selfies 😜 
The main objective behind this was to teach the children a way to reuse the plastic bottles which would have either ended up as landfills or burnt up & also to create an awareness amongst the locals about simple natural medicinal plants that should be present in all homes.
Though we had a delayed start we had a wonderful, rather I would say beautiful ending because we felt we achieved our objectives as many kids promised to try keeping plants like this in their homes. 

During the event a number of local residents inquired about the activity and were interested in replicating the same in and around their homes. 
Our joy was multiplied manifold when the auto drivers not only promised to protect it but they started cleaning around the wall saying this would make the place more beautiful and laid a few sacks of sand to prevent people from littering around.

With the sense of achievement we thanked all the participants & kids and ended this beautiful day.
Although some people were not able to make it today they were very instrumental in achieving this beautiful dream namely our great Peter Van Geit, Thala Ahamed Hanifa & Lovable Varatha Raja.

Links to Photo Albums: Please feel free to share and tag yourselves 😀😁 

--- Cheers ---

Sathya & Sagayaraj 



Copyright © 2015 • The Chennai Trekking Club