By Suzanna Goussous – Feb 25,2016

AMMAN — The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) is planning to construct seven new parks this year expected to be ready by June, with around 20 to 30 courts suitable for practising sports, an official said on Thursday.

Mohammad Qteish, director of GAM’s public parks department, said there are around 140 public parks in the capital alone.

“However, people still picnic on streets and in public areas,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone.

Although GAM has launched many initiatives to raise awareness of proper picnic behaviour, many residents do not abide by the rules, according to Qteish.

“GAM has highlighted several actions by picnickers that impact the environment negatively,” he said. “Yet there are many families that still litter and ruin the public park facilities.”

Qteish noted that GAM urges picnickers no to litter, leave leftover food on the ground, leave fires lit, and smoke argileh (water pipe) inside the parks.

“It is important that families clean the place after they eat, since picnics are usually on Fridays and it is a holiday for the workers. Every Saturday the parks look like they have not been cleaned in ages,” he added.

The most popular picnic spots in the Kingdom include the King Hussein, National Amman, Ghamadan, Independence, Prince Hamzah, and Yaacoub Salti parks, according to Qteish.

Hussein Awamleh, a university student, said he likes to have picnics with his friends on Fridays if the weather is suitable for such activities.

“When the weather is sunny, we go to have fun in parks inside and around Amman. Sometimes they are overcrowded with families from all around the country,” he told The Jordan Times.

Awamleh said it has become a new trend for the younger generation to meet and gather in public parks to chat.

Meanwhile, Saed Abu Khajeel, a father of four, said he seizes the opportunity provided by the weekend to spend time with his family.

“Family quality time is important… As a father who works until late hours, I often suggest to my family that we go out to parks either in east or west Amman,” he added.

Abu Khajeel noted that although families are asked to clean up before they leave, most picnickers usually litter and leave waste behind them.

The east Amman resident said the parks are a good place for sports games, but authorities may need to introduce more facilities and football pitches before summer begins to meet demand.
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