x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

More green space for Abu Dhabi

Construction will start on six "pocket parks" on Abu Dhabi island in the next month, according to the municipality's director of parks and recreation facilities.

ABU DHABI // Construction will start on six "pocket parks" on Abu Dhabi island in the next month, according to the municipality's director of parks and recreation facilities. Abdul Aziz al Jeraishi said Abu Dhabi island currently only has what are classified as public parks ? large, walled and landscaped areas. A municipality study identified that what was needed were more smaller gardens in residential areas.

According to Mr al Jeraishi pocket parks are small, accessible, typically have no gates or walls and there is no charge for entry. "There is good news ? within one month we will begin the first phase of the project and start construction on six pocket parks," he said. The first parks are being planned for Zaafarana, Al Bateen, Al Karama and Al Mushrif areas. The second phase will include an additional seven parks, which are currently under the design phase, with construction expected to start later this year.

The announcement came during a week long campaign to raise environmental awareness organised by Abu Dhabi Municipality. 'Plantation Week' is part of Municipality Month, during which municipalities focus attention on a different topic every week in March. "This is an event that the UAE has been celebrating for many years," Mr al Jeraishi said. "Plantation is important from an environmental point of view, for reducing pollution and also because of beautification. If you go to any place it makes you comfortable to see greenery."

The first ever competition to find Abu Dhabi's most beautiful private garden was launched last month, also overseen by the municipality's parks and recreation facilities department. Nominations have now closed, but organisers say they only received eight submissions. The owners of the top three gardens will receive a total of Dh100,000 in prize money, with Dh50,000 going to the individual with what the judges deem the best garden, based on criteria including irrigation and landscaping.

"The idea was to encourage people to maintain their gardens," Mr al Jeraishi said. "This is just the first time, so we were expecting only a small number [of entries] but next year will be more." zconstantine@thenational.ae