RAIPUR: Amidst the challenge of rising air pollution and the serious environmental health hazards associated with it, the Chhattisgarh capital has envisioned to create an Oxy-zone (a green and healthy nature space for the urban inhabitants) at Central Park in the city.
A couple of years ago, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report stated that Raipur had become the seventh worst city in India and it was also in the list of top twenty polluted cities in the world.
Improving the air quality is now the foremost task of the district administration. Taking a cue from the Central Park in New York, Raipur has decided to get its own green place in the heart of the city, which will be the first of its kind. Spread over 19 acres open space, the place with its integrated greenery would be sought after by the residents to relax, meditate and exercise within the “shadow of nature”.
Speaking about the ongoing project, Raipur collector O P Choudhary, who spearheads the mission, says the WHO suggests 9 sq metre of green space per person in every city and to come close to it, the city needs at least 12.6 sq km of green expanse.
“Being close to the nature, the Central Park will offer a healthy environment to its residents. As of now Raipur city has little over 2 per cent of its total area as green space,” the collector said. The heavy urbanisation in Raipur, with 172 sq km of land area, has led to considerable shrinking of greenery. Raipur has the floating population of around 14 lakhs.
There will be common space for cycling, jogging, running, meditation, yoga and other exercises. Water bodies, museum, small zoo and dairy will add new dimension in the park that will come up in the urban environment.
“Oxy-zone will be a reality in the next 8-10 months. Several government buildings, houses, shops of municipality, private structure, government offices among other constructions falling in the project area are being dismantled and removed,” Choudhary told The Sunday Standard.
The major sources of pollution in Chhattisgarh capital were industrial, traffic vehicular, civil construction, informed the Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board (CECB).
The state has launched coordinated efforts in 2016 to control the air pollution by the aggressive action plans.