Green parks are essential for healthy and happy family outings

Dhaka is known as a chaotic and at the same time joyful city. It is also known as a place where you can get the best food and shopping malls in Bangladesh. Recently there has been a discussion about cutting down trees in a historic park - Suhrawardy Udyan. I am confused because when we go to any countryside of Bangladesh we are amazed by the natural beauty, but in Dhaka we are destroying nature. We talk much about this but do almost nothing to make Dhaka green.

We have many restaurants in Dhaka, but do we have any suitable park for a family picnic or a get together? Even if we have some, no one is maintaining these. I am talking about public parks which are not much maintained, but the natural beauty gives us something lifesaving -oxygen.

Our political leaders say that we are becoming like Singapore, Malaysia or even America. But when it comes to urban facilities, do we really have any parks like those countries? The answer is no. But when our relatives post their photos on social media regarding friends and family hangouts in a beautiful park of those countries, we just dream about it and wish to have such places in our cities.

There is an ongoing protest against trees being chopped down in Suhrawardy Udyan as it is a completely illogical and a destructive move by the government. We have many questions about the plans of how the Dhaka city is being organised with much development work, and the cutting down trees is part of this. It is like other unplanned ideas which will not bring anything good for the city dwellers.

It’s a big surprise that we are cutting down trees to make some concrete infrastructure. We can build concrete jungles anywhere overnight, but can we build such a park like Suhrawardy Udyan overnight? When I heard the 7 March speech of the father of the nation, truly speaking it’s all about freedom. Freedom for humans to live with rights. But Bangabandhu was also thoughtful about green Bangladesh. I am sure his Sonar Bangla concept was not made without plans to make Bangladesh green. I saw a picture on social media of Bangabandhu planting trees in Suhrawardy Udyan. He made history there. Maybe time has changed, we don’t need to protect our own history. We may need to cut down many trees in many parts of the city. But is it the only solution?

Let’s think a bit differently. It is easy just to fell trees as these do not have any ability to protest or protect themselves, though one of our scientists Jagadish Chandra Bose proved that plants are living creatures with feelings. But as humans, have we ever recognised that?

There are many empty places where the government can build restaurants. We don’t need to destroy a beautiful park. In this modern world there are many ways to build a restaurant without cutting down trees such and where mobile restaurants can be a solution. Such restaurants already are operating in Dhaka and we can find it in front of the parliament. The concept of this restaurant is like it will stay in a designated place inside or outside park for a limited time. It should maintain both hygiene and environment safety. The city corporation can take responsibility to maintain and monitor those restaurants.

At the same time the park should be protected from any kind of destruction. Why don’t city corporations plan to plant more trees in empty areas? Just think you are having tea or coffee under the shadow of a tree. Isn’t it refreshing? Think of you and your family spending a weekend at least once a month in a green park and lying on green grass staring at the sky. I am sure you will then not miss those parks in the pictures your friends posted from abroad on their social media.

The relation between government and the citizens always seems to be one of rivalry. It’s a good practice to have the best solution for societies. But to have the best, both parties should think deeply about what is actually needed for a city like Dhaka. When it ranks the most polluted city in global ranking, we should accept that and take necessary action. We should admit that there is no other alternative to having green areas in a city like Dhaka. Can we think twice before we become destructive in the name of development?