Growing goya as a “Green-Curtain” – a shield against the summer heat Nerima Ward distributes seeds to residents

May 4, 2011 Tokyo

The Nerima Ward Office in Tokyo is encouraging people to grow goya, a bitter-tasting gourd that is a traditional summer vegetable in Okinawa, against walls or in windows in their homes as a form of protection against the summer heat. Helping to block out the sun and to lower the temperature, a cool breeze is generated by the water vapor from the leaves. The Green-Curtain operation is gaining momentum in Nerima Ward.
The Ward Office recommends this as a countermeasure to global warming that is readily available to residents and distributes two seedlings free to a thousand households or businesses.

A Green-Curtain using hechima or loofah plants has been promoted in Nerima Ward office buildings since 2009, and it is said that the heat mitigating effect has lowered temperatures by two or three degrees Celsius. The success of that Green-Curtain has seen the Ward Office kick off this new project.

The goya has been selected based on submissions from local residents. “Goya is popular among the people in Tokyo. It is a strong plant that is easy for a beginner to grow,” said Katsumi Sasaki, Head of the Nerima Ward Environmental Section, who expects it to be just as effective as the loofah vine in lowering temperatures. Many people have already registered their desire to receive the seedlings.

Registrations of interest close on May 9, and it is likely that great interest will mean that there will need to be a draw to distribute the plants. The shortage of electricity triggered by the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant has heightened interest towards the Green-Curtain Project.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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