As per a report published in this daily yesterday, the Chittagong Outer Stadium, one of very few playgrounds available to children in the port city, is being used for other purposes. While half of the stadium is being used to build a swimming pool the other half has been rented out for a month-long expo. Sadly, this is part of a larger trend of vanishing open spaces—especially in urban centres—for both children and adults.
To say that it is disappointing that there are only about nine playgrounds in such a highly populated city (approximately six million) would be an understatement. To make matters worse, the very few playgrounds that exist are barely accessible as they are mostly used to hold fairs and rallies, or are undergoing construction to be turned into parks.
We doubt that the authorities responsible for this situation know just how precious these playgrounds are to children who have very limited forms of recreation to begin with. We also think that a basic understanding of the importance of open spaces to child development eludes the concerned authorities—including Chittagong Jela Krira Sangstha, the owning and controlling body of the Outer Stadium.
We would like to reiterate that playgrounds are essential for the healthy upbringing of a child and are vital to his/her mental and physical growth. But the way Chittagong's playgrounds are being encroached upon is robbing children of their right to a healthy, happy and playful childhood. We urge the authorities to urgently take note of this and bring an end to the misuse of the few playgrounds still available. They should approach this matter keeping in mind the welfare of children and think of ways to expand playgrounds, not destroy them.