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Tue 25 Oct 2016 11:20 AM

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Qatar to create 'smart' parks, biggest manmade forest

Free wifi, energy-saving lights installed in public parks while manmade forest nears completion

Qatar to create 'smart' parks, biggest manmade forest
(Getty Images)

Officials are working to install free wifi in more parks across Qatar, as part of a drive to create ‘smart parks’ in the Gulf state, local media reported.

Eight parks and public spaces in Doha already have been equipped with free wifi, including Dahl Al Hammam, Al Dafna, Al Wakra and Al Khor Corniche.

As of next year, free wifi will also be available at parks in Al Luqta, New Onaiza, Ain Khaled, Al Jubailat, Al Ruwais Resort in Al Shamal, Al Duhail and Al Shamal, The Peninsula newspaper said.

“The Department is currently working with the Ministry of Transport and Communications to install free wifi in several public parks as part of its project to develop “smart parks” across the country,” Mohammed Al Khoori, director of the public parks department at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, was quoted as saying.

Other park upgrades include energy-saving LED lights, sensor technology for washroom taps, and special sunshades and rubberised flooring instead of sand in playgrounds.

Meanwhile, Gulf Times reported that the biggest manmade forest in the GCC is nearing completion in Qatar, around 50 kilometres from Doha.

The 8.3 square kilometre forest near Umm Salal Ali, which includes two lakes and four islands and is planned to be a public recreational park, is expected be completed by March 2017 according to Rafi Ohanian, operations manager at Nakheel Landscapes.

The work reportedly started in January 2015 and more than 50 percent of the project is complete.

Ohanian was quoted as telling the newspaper: “About 950,000 trees are being planted in the entire area. The two lakes, spread across 280,000 sq m, are located next to each other.

“We can already see thousands of birds perching on the trees and near the lakes.”

The forest is located near the Doha North Sewage Treatment Works plant, and Ohanian said that an automated irrigation system has been installed, with the intention to use treated water from the plant to keep the forest watered.

The trees are reportedly hardwood, which are resistant to the climatic conditions of Qatar.

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