In the last 22 years, the number of playgrounds in Dhaka has come down from 150 to only 24.
However, some of the remaining playgrounds are undergoing development works and some have become inaccessible to children after redevelopment.
According to a Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) survey, 37 out of 129 wards in the two city corporations of the capital have no playgrounds or parks for children who amount to about 40% of the total population of the metropolitan area.
Considering the area of Dhaka, parks and playgrounds should account for 1,137 acres and 1,876 acres of area respectively.
The detailed area plan (DAP) of Dhaka also proposed to have one 2-acre play ground against every 12,500 people in the city.
But the two city corporations of the capital are not creating new playgrounds as per the need and restricting access to the existing ones after doing some development works.
Experts say there is no alternative to increasing open spaces to provide relief to the people of the capital and to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Without adequate playgrounds the mental and physical development of children will be hampered. However, not only children, people of all ages need this facility, they said.
The two city corporations say they have completed 49 parks and playgrounds under two separate projects and opened them to the public.
At the same time, they plan to build at least one playground in each ward and claim that they are building parks or playgrounds wherever there is space.
According to the global standard, one playground of 1 acre is required for every 5,000 people in an area. In that case, almost 5,000 fields are needed for the 2.5 crore people of Dhaka.
According to the World Health Organization, every city needs about nine square meters of open space per person and this open space should be a park or playground.
The per capita green space in Dhaka in 1995 was 0.5 square metre, as per Rajuk's Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan (DMDP). But, it decreased to only 0.052 sq m in 2009, as per a DAP review.
According to a survey conducted by Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) in 2019, there are 24 playgrounds in the capital of which 18 are under the jurisdiction of the city corporations (six in North city and 12 in South city).
Some of these playgrounds have been renovated. As a result, the beauty of the field has increased, but the access to those fields has been restricted.
Meanwhile, according to a 2000 survey, there were 150 playgrounds in Dhaka at that time. However, no official government statistics were available.
The most worrying thing is that there are no playgrounds for girls and they can play only on 7% of the playgrounds.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam said a few days ago, "We want a playground in each of the new wards that have been added to the North City. Land will be acquired for this purpose."
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said that an initiative has been taken to formulate a 30-year "implementation plan" to ensure one playground in each ward of Dhaka South.
"In this case, if land acquisition is required, it will be done," he added.
Former general secretary of the BIP Professor Adil Muhammad Khan told TBS that considering the current situation of the population of Dhaka, it is almost impossible to fully ensure parks or playgrounds following the urban planning rules.
"However, in some places it is possible to create some area-based playgrounds through redevelopment," he added.
Iqbal Habib, joint secretary of the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), said, "The number of playgrounds and parks in Dhaka is declining at an alarming rate every five years."
"The city corporation is not able to create playgrounds due to lack of space, but the existing playgrounds are being occupied."
"This is why coordination among different organisations is important and children should be kept in mind at all times," he added.