Finding an open space for children to play in Dhaka is an arduous task. Deprived of playgrounds, young ones living in the city often find themselves too busy with electronics, to the point that it raises concerns for their health.
Keeping that in mind, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam and lawmaker Advocate Sahara Khatun yesterday inaugurated a section of Sonargaon Janapath road in Uttara, which will be free of traffic every Friday from now on.
The initiative of DNCC, in association with Surf Excel Bangladesh, also aims to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission by daily commute of private cars and public transportation.
From 8am to 11am, children and parents can have fun on the street on the weekends. A part of nearly 200-metre road will remain open for the purpose every Friday, where participants can join numerous activities including painting, badminton, and basketball. Organisers will provide the sports equipment to the children.
On the first day, people of Uttara came to see the event and enjoyed the car free street. There were playpens, seesaws, swing sets and slides for toddlers.
College students also came to play badminton on the free road.
“My father called me in the morning and said ‘Hey, go and see what’s happening on the street!’ and then I came and discovered this play zone on the road. You don’t see a car-free street every day, so when you see one, you just play,” said Siam Ahmed, while playing badminton with his friends.
National women’s basketball team player Ashreen Mridha was there with her team to promote women’s sports. She was campaigning for her newly founded group “Deshiballers”, and teaching children the basics of the game.
“Such initiatives should be taken in major places of Dhaka, so that the city stays free from vehicles for once and children can get a breathing space as well,” she said.
While inaugurating the event, the DNCC mayor said, “This initiative might create a little disturbance for the vehicle users. However, children will get to play during the weekend and I would like to request you to cooperate with us.”
Welcoming the initiative, Sahara Khatun said such an initiative should be replicated in more places around the city.