Brussels grows plants to help alleviate summer heat

Brussels, Jun 19 (EFE).- An environmental project in Brussels is using plants to reduce scorching summer temperatures and “cool down” the city.

Planting For Me was launched in 2020 by Environment Brussels, the Belgian capital’s administration for environment and energy, with the aim to reduce temperatures across the city by planting trees on streets, growing plants on facades and building green rooftops.

The greenery can reduce temperatures by up to 2C (35.6F) and create “cooler environments,” according to a report by Environment Brussels.

“Large-scale greening would make it possible, on very hot days, to reduce heat stress values below the thresholds where public health problems begin to appear,” the report said.

The plants also improve air circulation around buildings, enrich biodiversity as well as create a closer bond between the community and nature.

“Today, Brussels is a greener city than it was four years ago (…) there are more plants, fewer cars and also more places to cycle,” local resident Christen Simonsbath tells Efe.

Located in the heart of the capital, Rue d’Ophem is a model of this project and dozens of neighbors have joined the programme to generate more green spaces.

“I think it’s nice that when you look out the window, you see some plants, it improves our life and that of others,” Stephane Aisinber, who owns a bookstore on the street, says.

The initiative allows residents to “adopt” a tree and plant flowers and other plants around it to create a small garden.

The project is also bringing the community together, according to Aisinber.

“If someone is happy living on these streets, they are more open to talk to their neighbors,” she says. EFE


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