Smokers flout anti-smoking bylaw, 23/10/09

Surabaya–Many local residents were still seen puffing away on their favorite cigarettes in malls and other public areas as the Surabaya municipal administration started enforcing the bylaw against smoking in public places on Thursday.

Budi, a shopper at a mall, said Thursday he was unaware such an ordinance had been enacted last year in Surabaya.

Nor did he know that Thursday was the first day city residents would be prohibited from smoking in public places.

However, passive smokers and other residents hailed the enforcement of the no-smoking area and limited smoking-area bylaw.

They said they were “very happy” to have such a bylaw and hoped people would obey it to increase everyone’s quality of life.

To promote and raise awareness about the bylaw’s enforcement, a number of students gathered at several public places on Thursday in Surabaya, giving visitors candies in lieu of their cigarettes.

The campaigners chose this method as a friendly step to raise local residents’ awareness about the bylaw.

In a related development, many public places in the city were reportedly not ready to support the implementation of the bylaw enacted on Oct. 22, 2008, as they did not provide the required special rooms for smokers.

Surabaya Mayor Bambang Dwi Hartono said he had allocated Rp 1.1 billion to set up smoking rooms at 11 municipality office buildings in the city.

Each office, he added, would receive Rp 100 million to set up a special room equipped with supporting equipment like smoke blowers and air purifiers.

Surabaya development planning board head Tri Rismaharini said on Wednesday the administration would disburse the funds for six out of the 11 offices in 2009 and for the remaining five in 2010.

Tri said she hoped public service offices, which had received the funds, would provide smoking rooms and facilities as soon as possible to smooth the implementation of the bylaw.

She also urged local residents to obey the bylaw, which she added was enforced for the good of every citizen.

Tri encouraged all public places to provide smoking rooms, even the more modest ones.

However, he urged all civil servants in the city to abide by the bylaw to set an example for other city residents.

Based on a Center for Religious and Community Studies (CeRCS) survey, many administration office buildings and public places in the city were found unable, as of Thursday, to support the implementation of the anti-smoking ordinance.

Only three out of the 16 administration buildings, and three out of the 11 big malls in the city, had already started provided smoking rooms.

CeRCS’s director Siti Nurjanah said that not only had many administration buildings and public places in the city neglected their responsibility to provide smoking rooms, but they had also failed to put “No Smoking” signs in their premises reminding visitors of the newly implemented bylaw.