Md Atikur Rahman
Everyone is safe in a city where a child is safe, including women, men, the elderly, and the disabled. However, children cannot walk safely in Dhaka. They do not have enough parks and playgrounds for sports. All the parks and gardens do not have any infrastructure for children and adolescents aged 5-10 years. The children of Dhaka city are deprived of the opportunity for sports; they are being deprived of physical exercise and socialization. As a result, they are becoming more self-centred. They are not creating a mentality of cooperation towards each other. For their proper physical and mental development, it is necessary to preserve parks and playgrounds and ensure a play environment for all, including children and adolescents.
On the other hand, a child’s birthright is the right to breathe in the open air. Children and adolescents, as well as adults, need open space for everyday life. After a long day’s work, one can sit at leisure, talk to like-minded people, unite with nature and lighten one’s mind. So there is a need to have open space in proportion to the population in each mahalla. So that people can take safe shelter in the open during such disasters. So we want open space and playground for nation-building.
From the source of data, the World Health Organization recommends that every child between the ages of 5 and 10 play sports outside for at least one hour a day. Is each of our children getting that opportunity? Only 2% of children in Dhaka city had a chance to go to the playground and play. Twenty per cent of adolescents and 29 per cent of adolescents show signs of depression. Children are not getting the opportunity to play; especially girls are being deprived of more options. Children and adolescents are getting mentally exhausted. Depression, depression, exhaustion and irritable mood are becoming their companions. Mutual understanding and sympathetic behaviour are declining drastically. Growing resent and selfish.
These are manifestations of the child’s imperfect mental development. We are already beginning to suffer the consequences of this inadequate cognitive development. We are seeing the incidents of teenagers getting involved in horrible crimes around us. Due to a lack of mental development, young people are engaged in various violent activities, including militancy. Our teenagers are very intolerant. If there is no way out of this trend, more terrible social catastrophes are waiting in the future. It’s time to dump her and move on.
Once upon a time, there were many open spaces in Dhaka city which were used as playgrounds. But gradually, all those empty spaces are on the verge of extinction due to the unplanned construction of buildings. As much as is left, there are various attempts to occupy it as it is not officially and legally recognized as a playground. Everyone expects that all areas of Dhaka metropolis, mahallas, and different educational institutions will not be without greens.
Although the government has occasionally promised to preserve the field, no progress has been made in establishing the field and conserving all the existing specializations. The demand for parks and playgrounds in the area, restoration of greens, and setting up of gambling halls in the name of fairs in the greens have already created a strong movement. In some places based, parks, playgrounds, children’s parks, etc., even if they are written on paper, in reality, they do not exist.
Now, this is happening day after day in all the cities, ports and even villages of the country. Especially the remoteness of childhood and adolescence, which is one of the conditions for the future development of future citizens, is trapped in the web of TV cartoons and computer games. As we do not have enough play space, children and teenagers rely on electronic devices at home. We are accustomed to brain dependent games, forgetting body dependent games. We are getting physically lazy. Children’s physical and mental growth is not going well, and the risk of children getting irritable mood, immature behaviour, and going astray is increasing day by day.
In such a situation, we expect that the officials concerned will pay more attention to implementing the following issues in the mental development of children.
1. Recognize these playgrounds as official and legal playgrounds so that existing playgrounds are not lost in any way;
2. Every educational institution must guarantee playgrounds;
3. Not allowing any event other than sports on the playground (e.g., trips, fairs, etc.);
4. Take appropriate measures to ensure that each playground is suitable for play in all seasons;
5. Arrange one or more playgrounds as required in each village and neighbourhood; and
6. We want the minimum required open space in proportion to the playgrounds.
Playgrounds are essential for the physical and mental development of children. Finally, I would like to say that my child should be on the playground and grow up healthily and beautifully.
(Md Atikur Rahman is a Columnist and Former Head of PR at BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology)