Grass gets greener as Dubai parks open

Seven new parks will open in Dubai this week.

UAE - Dubai - March 07- 2011:  Tourist from Malta at Al Barsha Park. ( Jaime Puebla - The National Newspaper )
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DUBAI // New parks are being opened across the city this week as part of a Dh65 million project to make the emirate greener.

Yesterday marked the official opening of Al Barsha Park 1, which covers 16,600 square metres, and cost Dh7 million. It has designated sports areas, fitness apparatus and a running track.

Al Sufouh Park, which cost Dh8.6m, also opened this week, and two further parks are to open today at Muhaisina and Abu Hail.

A further five parks and seven playgrounds are scheduled to open next year.

"Most of our small parks see an average of 1,000 visitors daily and larger parks see up to 4,000 people, especially at weekends," said Hussain Nasser Lootah, the director general of Dubai Municipality.

"When we provide these parks, besides being recreational and adding to the beautification, it's added value for the environment."

All week, municipal officials will be inaugurating new parks around Dubai emirate, in celebration of the 31st annual Plantation Week.

Speaking at yesterday's park opening, Ahmed Abdul Kareem, director of the public parks and horticulture department, said a new law would introduce a points system requiring the public and private sector to maintain a green quota in all areas.

"The law will cover new and existing areas and outline a plan over several years for implementation," said Mr Abdul Kareem.

"For example, a 100,000 square foot plot will be required to have 1,500 [greenery] points which are reflected through different plant varieties.

"A date palm would constitute two points, one square metre of grass would equal half a point and so on," he said.

The Greenery and Landscaping law is expected to be adopted within two years, he said, with the draft law almost complete and likely to be submitted for government approval soon.