Sep 09,2015

The Greater Amman Municipality does not seem to run out of new ideas to make the capital a more beautiful, functional and liveable place.

The latest plan is to make Amman a green metropolis by 2020.

The intention to make Jordan’s cities green is quite old, but it never really materialised. Hopefully this time it will be different.

Granted, an endeavour to make Amman green is not simple. The city, like the country, is more on the arid side, there isn’t much water to spare for irrigation and the zoning plans for Amman — or the lack of them, in most cases — left very little space for public parks, which makes some view Amman as “a forest of stones”.

Yet, one cannot lose hope, particularly when the current GAM officials seem serious about beautifying Amman, including by turning it into a green city.

But how?

GAM says there are already 145 public parks in Amman, and all that is needed is to renovate them.

The figure seems high, but perhaps it’s a matter or semantics. What GAM calls a park may not truly qualify as such in many parts of the world.

Be it as it may, any green oasis would be a welcome lung for the oxygen-starved city suffocated under tonnes of concrete.

Rehabilitating existing green zones and creating new ones requires much effort and determination, precious plots of land that normally sell for a fortune, and plenty of water.

Only 2.5 per cent of Amman is green space, by the municipality admission, and that is not nearly enough for a sprawling metropolis like our capital.

Forestation of all areas surrounding Amman is doable, but it requires much effort and quite some spending.

Making existing green spaces real parks — clean, safe havens for children and all those harried people in need of a moment of relaxation — is also possible.

And it should be done if efforts to beautify Amman’s assembly of concrete and stones are genuine and serious.

At least, GAM is aware of the challenge, which is a good beginning, and wants to make an effort.

But any endeavour in that direction cannot be taken to a good end without the cooperation of the private sector and, above all, the public, which must learn how to keep whatever green areas available clean, green and civilised.

After all, it is the citizens that enjoy public parks and they should know how to look after such precious places.

Without the citizens’ full assistance, whatever effort GAM exerts will come to naught.

Green areas are not trash dumps. Neither are they places to trample on and barbeque — unless specifically designed and equipped to function as such — in full view of passers-by, exposed to car emissions and blocking vital streets, like the areas around Shaab Circle.

They are places where children can play safely and people can relax, away from noise and pollution.

Hopefully we will reap the fruit of GAM’s efforts soon.
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