The problem with most security fences and barriers is that they are, to put it simply… UGLY. Barbed wire fences and concrete blast walls are not often referred to as attractive, but when it comes down to a matters of security and safety from suicide bombers, the aesthetics are rarely considered an issue.
But what if there was an alternative? What if you could have a wall of green that would repel those would be intruders and still look nice to anyone not trying to get through?
Enter ”natural defensive weaved hedges.’ French businessman Jean-Marie Zimmermann travelled to Baghdad with a modest proposal. Replacing the multitude of blast walls and barbed wire fences with green walls made with tightly woven thorny plants. Zimmermann suggests;
“Why not make the Green Zone green? This is the kind of place where we can provide protection. We can remake Baghdad as a city focused on nature, ecology and the environment, with a new concept of security,” S
Its a simple principle really; plant a row of thorny trees and bushes 80 centimetres apart and weave the branches together. As the plants grow they form a dense and razor-sharp hedge that within three years can reach a height of six metres. Protectionist Roses anyone? For those that don’t think that the plants alone will be enough Zimmmermann says its no problem to place traditional barbed wire, tire spikes, sensors, and other metal barriers within the hedge. Extra protection that is harder to see with the green camouflage over top.
While the barrier won’t stop a tank, it will stop a truck, and the same holds true for most security barriers.
Hakim Abdel Zahra, the spokesman for the municipality, said the city was studying the concept of plant barriers ‘which was brought to us by a French investor’. ‘The idea of establishing security barriers made of plants has many benefits, both from the psychological side and for the beauty and attractiveness of the city.’
‘When you have five or six rows of thorny trees it will take at least an hour to cross, and that is more than enough time to capture the guy,’ he says.
‘Nothing is insurmountable, not even a concrete wall, but you slow down the infiltration. That’s the principle.’ Mr Zimmermann dreams big, and as he expounds on the product he starts to look beyond Baghdad and its government buildings to Iraq’s long and porous borders with its sometimes antagonistic neighbours.
‘A vegetation barrier on certain parts of the border would be perfectly compatible with sensors,’ he says, and unlike the minefields that criss-cross the Middle East it would not leave future generations with missing limbs.
And if infiltrators try to burn their way in? ‘It would take more than a blowtorch,’ he laughs. ‘These are living plants.’ S
I for one would like to see more of these green security walls. There are plenty of what would otherwise be nice city views that are ruined by the presence of a barbed wire topped chain link fence. If you would like to find out more you can also consult the SINNOVEG website.