Empty signboard frames greet visitors to Sharjah’s Al Nahda Park. With rules about the ban on smoking and riding bicycles in parks not highlighted, civic sense has taken a back seat. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Sharjah: The public park in Al Nahda is a matter of concern for residents who live in the area as it is not child-friendly and is a place where rules are ignored due to the lack of notice boards, park-goers allege.

Much to their dismay, visitors smoke in the children's play area and throw the butts in the sandpit while other unruly children ride their bicycles on the grass and argue with the watchman.

"I don't feel safe bringing my 5-year-old child here any more because I am worried that they might play with the cigarettes by accident. I have complained to the watchman about this, but nothing's been done for the past few months," said Sunil, a parent.

"There are a group of women who constantly smoke in the children's play area. We approached the women and informed them they are not allowed to smoke there, but they refuse to stop smoking. They also demand to see where the rules stating that they cannot smoke there are written," said Jayasree, another resident.

No notice boards

Visitors are prohibited from smoking in the parks and riding bicycles. Since May 2009, parks in Sharjah are open from 8am to 1pm and from 4pm to 10pm, while maintenance work and cleaning are carried out between 1pm and 3pm.

When contacted by Gulf News, Sharjah Municipality refused to comment.

However, the watchman at Al Nahda Park explained that visitors usually leave around 1.30pm because there are no notice boards specifying the park's timings.

"The problem is that when I tell the people to leave they refuse to listen to me because they want to see the rules displayed somewhere. And when I tell people to stop smoking they don't listen to me either, and then parents start shouting at me and want me to do something," said Faraz, the watchman.

"The children are also another problem because they come here unaccompanied and do as they please. They shout and walk on the flowerbeds, and pay no heed to what I say. I have told my supervisor for the last five months about installing signboards but nothing has been done as yet," he claimed.

Do you know of any other parks that are poorly maintained? Have you raised your concerns with the Municipality?