Group wants public parks reopened
An environmental group said residents of Metro Manila should be allowed to enjoy public parks as long as they follow health and safety guidelines, according to a report by Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Nilad Metro Manila Environmental Network said that the scores of people who trooped to Manila Bay’s artificial white sand beach last month indicated a demand for open spaces, after more than seven months of being stuck in their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Allowing people to spend time in parks, even for a brief period each day, boosts awareness about the importance of preserving and expanding green spaces. Hopefully, it can also inspire policymakers and urban planners to develop more parks in communities,” the group said.
“This is not simply for leisure but a health measure to promote the physical and mental well-being of people,” it added, stressing that public green spaces must be reopened while maintaining safety and health measures.
“With the prioritization of our health-care system caused by the global pandemic, the need to carry out a plan to protect and conserve our green spaces must also be seen as a way toward complete recovery and mitigation of communicable and noncommunicable diseases,” the group said.
“Malls and churches are already open. Why not follow this up with the opening of major parks and allow people to enjoy the health benefit of using the open space for physical and mental exercise?” it added.
Recent data from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources showed that only 12,152.79 hectares out of Metro Manila’s total land area of 55,922.22 ha, or only 21 percent, were allotted to green spaces.
The capital city of Manila accounted for one of the biggest deficits, with only 140.4 ha of green space in an area of over 3,800 ha.
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