When Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Air Quality Index (AQI), Chennai was among the least polluted cities in the nation. Contributing to this is the parks spread across the city that also add to the visual appeal.
Last year, Chennai had nearly 400 parks with an estimated of 4.5 per cent of its area under the green cover. The Chennai Corporation has proposed to set up 100 more parks by this year.
The green dream...
The Chennai Corporation launched several plans to beautify the city. The clean and green Chennai campaign started in 2010, triggered the development of green spaces in the city. The Corporation has a separate Parks Department to maintain these. Apart from developing open areas as parks, the corporation increases the green shield by developing traffic islands, growing greenery in the central medians, transforming waste lands and planting avenue trees. The city has 456 public parks, 149 traffic islands and 122 centre medians. The largest among the parks is the 358 acre Tholkappiar Poonga, developed to restore the fragile ecosystem of the Adyar estuary.
Issues of concern...
These breathing hubs of the congested city require maintenance. Poor conservation and lack of regular pruning and sweeping is a major issue that needs to be sorted out. Few parks are
infested by overgrown shrubs and thorny bushes, making them homes to insects and snakes. There have also been numerous instances of
vandalism of park furnitures such as lights, benches and play equipment. Another shocking aspect is that in many parks, the play equipment are often rusted or damaged, making them unsafe for children to play.
Generally parks situated in posh areas are in a better condition as their maintenance is taken care by residents’ welfare associations. Involving the public and bringing in a sense of ownership will help.
Though Chennai targets 500 parks, this is far less than other metros like Delhi (15,000), Mumbai (1,300), Bangalore (721) and Hyderabad (709).