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Living Green

Beijing to cover roofs with greenery

The municipal government of Beijing announced plans to improve the quality of the city's air by covering 100,000 square meters of roofs with greenery by the end of 2012, reported.

Tan Tianying, president of the Beijing Green Roof Association, said green roofs have proven to be an effective measure for improving in terms of PM2.5 standards, which measures tiny particles that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter.

Greening rooftops in cities, or maintaining "living roofs", includes partially or completely covering them with vegetation planted over a waterproofing membrane. Vertical landscapes meanwhile involve cultivating a garden that grows on walls.

Both methods can filter pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air. This can help people suffering from related afflictions such as asthma.

According to Mr. Tan, there are nearly 140 million square meters of bare roofs and walls that are not used for vertical landscaping in Beijing. If each person in Beijing grows just 1 square meter of green area, he says, the capital will have another 20 million square meters of greenery.

Rooftop plants can also alleviate the urban "heat island effect". A layer of plants and earth can cut the rate of heat absorption through the roof in summer by 84 percent, said Mr. Tan. – EcoSeed Staff

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