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Urban Rooftop Gardening Strategies

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 4 months ago
Urban Rooftop Gardening


Description and Rationale


“Urban Gardening: An Easy Way to Reduce Pollution in Manila.”

Manila is one of the most polluted cities in the world. It is a shame because if you visit the provinces of the Philippines, you will get to see the natural beauty that it has to offer. But it is a different story in Manila. The capital city is covered in cement and it is rare to see much green anywhere in Manila. The city has more than 15 million people living in it and more and more buildings are being built everyday. The forest and natural wildlife in Manila is almost all gone.

What is the impact of the pollution on Manila? Pollution causes many diseases and it causes lung cancer. Pollution is a big problem in the world today because of the depleting ozone layer. The Greenhouse Effect is taking place because we are putting too much CO2 and other harmful gases into the environment. How did Manila get so polluted? What is it doing to its inhabitants? What is it doing to the few wild animals that are left on the outskirts of Manila? Is there a possible way to save our environment by reducing the pollution in this city and possibly other cities across the world?

There are in fact ways to reduce pollution in Manila. Plants take in CO2 and use it for energy and they release Oxygen back into the environment. Therefore, the more plants we have in Manila, the less pollution we have as a result. One growing popular thing is growing gardens on rooftops of skyscrapers. There are many buildings in Manila that could do this same thing. It could be possible to ask some of the buildings to try this out and then other buildings would want to do the same. Local farmers could get an income by taking care of these gardens.

The initial purpose of this project will be to research to see if urban gardening is really an effective way to reduce pollution in major cities. Doing research on this subject and possibly interviewing some one who is very knowledgeable on Urban Gardening will help me better understand the subject.

The goal of this project is to get the Filipino people aware of the pollution problem they have in Manila and show them an easy, possible way to reduce the pollution therefore creating healthier air to breathe for all Filipinos.


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Common Names and Synonyms

Epipremnum aureum is also called the Golden Photos. It gets its name from the Greek epi meaning "upon" and premnon meaning "a trunk," referring to its natural growth on tree trunks. Other names include Centipede tongavine and Devil's Ivy. It is also popularly known as "money plant" in certain parts of the world (particularly in India). They are native of the Solomon Islands.



Kingdom:      Plantae (plants)

Phylum:        Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)

Class:           Liliopsida

Order:          Alismatales (order of flowering plants)

Family:         Araceae (Arums)

Genus:         Epipremnum

Species:       E. aureum


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Morphology and Physical Description


It is a vine growing up to 20 m tall, with stems up to 4 cm diameter, climbing by means of aerial roots which hook over tree branches (or anything aerial ex. Balcony, poles, pillars). The leaves are evergreen, alternate, heart-shaped, up to 100 cm long and 45 cm broad. The flowers are produced in a spathe (A large bract, sometimes highly colored, surrounding or enclosing a spadix. The spathe flower is characteristic of the aroids, such as Anthurium and Spathiphyllum) up to 23 cm long.


Cream to yellow variegation; may be trained on a pole or allowed to trail. The sun exposure is from extreme sun to partial shade. The bloom color is white/near white. Bloom time is mid summer. Foliage is evergreen and variegated. Average water needs is not very high. Do not over water this plant.







Getting Food


Epipremnum aureum is a plant so it must get its food and energy from photosynthesis. The definition of photosynthesis is: process of using energy in sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. That is how Epipremnum aureum gets it’s food and energy.


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There are four ways that a plant can reproduce. If seeds that have fallen on the ground are covered with a little dirt, another plant may start to grow. Seeds can be planted by people, too. Another way is that plants can be started from a cutting - either a stem or a leaf put in sand or water. Another good way to reproduce a plant is by layering - a branch lying on the ground covered with a little dirt might grow roots and start another plant. And lastly a plant that’s stems grow underground to produce new plants are called runners.


Environmental Factors

The Epipremnum aureum is a vine, which means that it must grow on something like pole or tree. It must curl around something in order for it to grow. Though it is possible to grow it in a pot, it will not grow as large if it was grown on a pole. The Devils Ivy is a plant that grows best in soil that has soil acidity in the range of 5.1 to 6.0 which is pretty acidic. It is a plant that can stand a fairly high degree of abuse.

Potential problems for the Golden Pothos are scale, mealybugs, and spidermites.

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Origin and Distribution


This plant is native of Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. The plant prefers a temperature of between 17 and 30 °C. It has been brought to many parts in southeastern United States. Florida, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and most of Southeastern Asia is a good environment for Devil’s Ivy to live.


Importance to People


Devil’s Ivy is extremely poisonous to humans. If a lot of it is ingested, then it can cause swelling of the mouth and throat and also diarrhea. This is one bad thing that could affect humans.

The good side to Devil’s Ivy is that it filters the air for formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide. Many people plant these plants inside of their homes in order to clean and filter the air in their homes. So this plant is a good way to clean the air in your home or city and keep you healthy by keeping the air healthy.

There are many ideas about “Rooftop Gardening.” People are asking and experimenting what if these plants were put on top of rooftops in order to clean the air of urban cities. If a couple of these plants can filter the air in a home. If thousands of these plants were put on many buildings, then the air of the city would definitely become cleaner.


Survivability and Endangered Status


The Devil’s Ivy is able to withstand a large amount of abuse. It can also stand direct sunlight for quite a while. It is better to keep a little amount of shade on them though. Not much watering is needed to keep these plants alive. They thrive in humid places (perfect for the Philippines.) There have been some cases where someone put Devil’s Ivy in their backyard and it has taken over a whole tree. Much testing would have to be done in order to ensure that this plant would not take over a large portion of a building.



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Potential Solutions


Possibility 1




If you were to ask any Filipino if there was a pollution problem in Metro Manila they would say there was. It is obvious that there is, in the morning you can see the smog just glooming over Urban Manila because of all the people going to work. If Filipinos were educated on the advantages of planting these plants, I’m sure they would take action to help their environment here in the Philippines. This is probably the best action step that could be taken because it would educate the Filipinos and get them to start thinking of ways that they could start helping the environment. This is what I chose to do. With a group of my younger brother’s friends in my subdivision, I got them together and presented my topic and told them the dangers of too much pollution and my possible way of decreasing it. They seemed amazed at the fact that a plant could help decrease the amount of pollution in a city.




  • Filipinos would be able to help the environment here in Manila.


  • The health of Filipinos would get better. Many Filipinos have bronchitis because of the pollution that is in Manila. Pollution also causes other diseases such as Lung Cancer. If Filipinos had a choice to help there own health, their families’ health, and their fellow Filipinos’ health, they would do it.




  • Many Filipinos are poor and they would not have enough money to buy Golden pothos.


  • Also many Filipinos do not have adequate space in their homes for these plants because most of the Filipino population lives in “squatter” areas in Urban Manila.


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Possibility 2




If this method of cleaning the air became popular, then Filipinos could have a source of income by selling these types of plants. If there is a huge demand for these plants that can get rid of a lot of pollution, then there will have to be people supplying these plants. Filipinos could go into the business of selling these pollution helping plants.




  • Filipinos would have another possible source of income and the economy of the Philippines would be better.


  • The unemployment rate of the Philippines could go down.


  • The vendors of these plants and the Government of the Philippines could make some type of deal. Because the government could help these businesses get started because in the end, it will help reduce the pollution in the country.




  • If vendors buy all these plants and no one buys them, no one else would get interested in this business and the pollution in Manila would not be changed.


  • No one would want to take the risk of putting all their money into this business for fear of losing it all.


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Possibility 3




If there were other benefits in owning this plant, I believe more people would be interested in investing in this plant. Besides the fact that it is very good at absorbing Co2, if people could research this plant for other benefits, it would become more popular.




  • If researchers found that this plant could be used for medicine or could be eaten, then more Filipinos would buy this plant and it would become more popular.


  • A cure for a known disease could possibly come out of this plant by researching it.




  • Nothing could be found more than the fact that Golden pothos is a good absorber of Co2.


  • A lot of money could be wasted in trying to find another benefit from this plant.


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Bruce, Nigel, comp. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2007. World Health Organization. 6 May 2007 <http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?pid=S0042-96862000000900004&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en>.


DenverPlants.Com. 2003. 14 Apr. 2007 <http://www.denverplants.com/foliage/html/PothosGold.htm>.


"Epipremnum Aureum." Wikipedia. 9 Apr. 2007. <www.en.wikipedia.org>.


"Indoor Plants - Clean Air." Plant-Care.Com. 11 Apr. 2007 <http://www.plant-care.com/indoor-plants-clean-air-1.html>.


King, Melissa. "Rooftop Gardens." ABC. 3 Jan. 2003. 9 Apr. 2007 <http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s728127.htm>.


"Medical Terminology & Drug Database." St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 4 May 2007 <http://www.stjude.org/glossary>.


"Metro Manila." Wikipedia. 1 May 2007. 4 May 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Manila>.


Watkins Jr., E. A., R. C. McDonald, and B. C. Wolverton, comps. Foliage Plants for Removing Indoor Air Pollutants From Energy-Efficient Homes. 1 Apr. 1984. 14 Apr. 2007 <http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=6809043>.


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