Mangaluru: In the words of the acclaimed Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall never be broken.” These words continue to stay resolute and act as guiding principle for Mangaluru International Airport as it readies to observe World Nature Conservation Day on July 28.
The harmony that one finds at this #GatewayToGoodness with a beautiful balance of indoor and outdoor plans gives one the feel of being one with the outdoors. The airport is home to over 515 indoor plants including indigenous palms, shrubs, and trees, 111 palms, and 464 trees and shrubs that are spread over a 1215sqm area. The airport’s green zone of 1.38 hectares features over 85 different species of plants that have been nurtured here.
An exotic array of flowering and fruit-bearing trees is a meaningful value addition to the green scape of the airport. The fruit-bearing trees are watchfully handled in a manner that they do not attract birds. The presence of Radermachera, also called China doll is a beautiful foliage plant that is maintained at the terminal. It is an evergreen bushy foliage plant which is mainly used indoors and adds to the aesthetic appeal.
Living up to its commitment to the conservation of resources, the airport has chosen 80 per cent of the plants that are native to the coastal region and the state. The entire landscaped area is irrigated with treated water generated in the airport. Located as it amidst the natural forest, around 80 per cent of the airport is covered with greenery and this presents a visual treat from the air for the passengers.
Coco peat, a by-product of coconut husk is used to conserve the plants indoors and outdoors. Organic manure such as vermicompost is used to treat plants and thereby increase the fertility of the soil. Plant-based insecticides and pesticides are used to reduce the spread of toxicity in the air and soil that too in a crowded area like the airport. Sludge from the sewage treatment plant (STP) is used as organic manure.
The airport has installed drips and sprinklers for precise irrigation, which increases water use efficiency and reduces evaporation of water, thereby saving 60-70% water. Plants such as Pothos, sansevieria, spathiphyllum, aloe vera and fern that purify the air and that are comfortable for the eyes have been carefully chosen and inducted into the landscape of the airport and the terminal inside.
With 516 air purifying plants in its green repertoire, the airport plans to distribute nursery propagated plants to passengers to mark the day. Apart from the decor, these plants are used for therapeutic purposes. The green space at the airport is well spread out – rights as one enter the airport, on the landside, at the car parking area, near the administrative office and other vantage points.
The airport has also taken care to decorate all the artefacts inside the terminal with colourful foliage plants. Potted plants are seen arranged at both international and domestic arrival and departure and along the aerobridges too. The persistence in conservation efforts can be gauged from the fact that the green area at the airport has increased from 0.9ha in 2019 to 1.4ha as of now.
A team of passionate and dedicated gardening experts look after the maintenance of this unique flora and fauna. This initiative will be further expanded by creating a tropical forest at the terminal using local flora and greenery will be added to the new integrated terminal building. MIA remains committed to creating a sustainable environment for all the stakeholders to continue to make our earth a better place for all lives.