Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – Two years ago, Nguyễn Thị Thư, who lives in Thủ Dầu Một City in Bình Dương Province, used to exercise every day on the streets.
“It was hard to find a safe place to exercise every day at the public park. Of course, I knew that it was very dangerous, but I had no choice,” she said. .
“But things are different since the local government built public parks and flower gardens and upgraded other infrastructure,” she added. “It also provides more space for children to play.”
The 65-year-old is among thousands of residents who have benefitted from the province’s decision to carry out programmes to provide more green space.
In 2014, the Bình Dương Administrative Centre opened in Bình Dương New City, about 20km from the centre of Bình Dương Province.
Major government offices and orgnisations moved to the new city, leaving many land plots open for new uses.
In 2015, local authorities decided to use the land for new parks and public gardens to improve the quality of life of the local community.
Nguyễn Thanh Tuấn, 36, said he was surprised when the government decided to build parks. “I thought the land which was located downtown would be used for trading and used for profit. But they were turned into parks.”
Nguyễn Thu Cúc, deputy chairwoman of the city’s People’s Committee, conceded that the city would have received more money if it had used the land for trade.
However, urbanisation in Bình Dương and Thủ Dầu Một City has increased rapidly in recent years.
“This has led to more environmental problems, especially air pollution, and a decrease in the quality of life,” she said. “Under urbanisation, local residents need more green areas to breathe, live and relax as well as exercise.”
In addition to building public gardens, the city also invested in exercise equipment, toys and playgrounds for children.
Thirty parks and flower gardens covering a total area of 18,000sq.m were built between 2015 and 2017, with a total investment of VNĐ30 billion from the local budget.
Despite the Govenrment’s efforts, the increase in green areas is still insufficient.
Statistics show that Bình Dương has a population of nearly 2 million, with 500,000 people living in Thủ Dầu Một City.
“We plan to build 36 parks and flower gardens in 2018 in Thủ Dầu Một City,” Cúc said.
Đặng Văn Thế, 43, a resident of the city, said: “I’m happy since the park near my house has opened to the public. In the past, I couldn’t find a place for my son to play and relax after school. He just stayed home and used his smartphone or watched TV. I knew it was not good for the children and their growth. But what I could do?”
“Now, my son can play and talk with other kids at the park near our home,” he added. “However, there are not enough auxiliary works and public conveniences such as public restrooms.”
He said that public conveniences and places should be built, and to maintain them, donation boxes should be installed to raise funds.
An American man who has worked as an English teacher in Thủ Dầu Một City for six years, said: “The local authorities have had very good policy. Urbanisation has increased rapidly in recent years, so the city residents need green places.”
Nguyễn Lộc Hà, chairman of the city’s People Committee, said: “Public parks and flower gardens play a very important role in the development of the entire Bình Dương Province. They are like the lung of the city.”
“They are the ideal place for public communication and for relaxation.” – VNS