Malaga Airport has installed vertical gardens and plants to enhance the environmental quality and the well-being of travellers.
MALAGA Airport is taking advantage of the airport being so quiet due to the small number of travellers by making improvements to its facilities.
The project aims to improve the environmental quality and well-being of travellers with the installation of one of the biggest ‘indoor parks’ of this type in Andalucia. Covering 400 square metres in total, four vertical gardens around different parts of the building allow the installation of thousands of plants.
One of these vertical gardens is 200 square metres in size and located in the main hall explained the head of ACER Espacious Naturales, Ignacio Benthem, a company that specialises in gardening and won the contract early last year when it was put out to tender by the airport operator AENA.
The designated locations for the gardens made installation complicated and has required specific architectural planning and specialist welders to work on lifting platforms. To minimise inconvenience for passengers, this part of the installations have been carried out at night.
More than 10,000 plants have been cultivated on the supports and each vertical garden has a smart system measuring the humidity, and water and fertiliser are automatically injected into the soil when necessary.
“The maintenance is totally automised. All that is needed is a check once a month to see how the plants are doing,” said Benthem. He also explained that the compositions are made up of 22 different species and a combination of shapes and colours. Some of the plants include cerastium, ophiopogon, helxine and chlorophytum.
Although these are not native species, Benthem pointed out that they have been selected for the projects because of their resistance: “They survive well in hostile environments, with little light and little maintenance.”
But the project, which has cost over €200,000, isn’t just for aesthetic purposes. There are several objectives to the initiative, one being to improve the well-being of travellers. Airports and flying can be stressful for some, and a study on which AENA has based this initiative shows plants have a calming and tranquillising effect on people who are stressed and a stimulating effect on those who are tired.
There are also lots of environmental benefits. Vegetation produces oxygen and promotes the removal of CO2 in the atmosphere, cleaning the air by capturing particles and dust and regulating the humidity levels.
Another favourable effect on respiration and health is that they are able to absorb harmful substances such as formaldehyde, aerosols and carbon monoxide. All of these benefit the effect on respiration and health, particularly in Covid times.