Singapore — As an additional measure to cut down on smoking, rubbish bins with mounted ashtrays will be moved to less crowded places, Dr Amy Khor said in Parliament on Monday (Feb 1).
Dr Khor is the Senior Minister of State in the Ministry for Sustainability and the Environment.
Not only will this measure discourage smokers from smoking in public, it will also protect others from the effect of secondhand smoke.
The move has yet to be announced but Dr Khor said coordination with relevant agencies was already under way.
The Coconuts media site quotes Dr Khor as saying that the National Environment Agency (NEA) “is working with relevant agencies to relocate bins with ashtrays to places with less footfall”.
The agency is also “working to distribute advisories and put up visual reminders to not smoke in prohibited areas”, she added.
Dr Khor said this in response to MP Yeo Wan Ling (PAP-Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), who said that smokers are known to light cigarettes in places such as train stations and pathways to shopping malls. Children and vulnerable groups are often present in these areas.
Dr Khor said this is why bins with ashtrays are being relocated to less crowded spaces.
Among the measures implemented in the country’s push to reduce its number of smokers are raising the minimum legal smoking age from 20 to 21 last month and the banning of smoking in over 30,000 venues, which include covered walkways and bus stops, she added.
Dr Khor also said that in 2020, the NEA received around 2,900 complaints of smoking per month on average in prohibited areas.
For non-prohibited areas, the number of complaints were around 210 monthly, according to a report on the figures by the straitstimes.com.
As for people who smoke in high-rise buildings and throw their cigarette butts out the window, the Senior Minister of State said that in 2020, more surveillance cameras have been deployed by NEA.
Cigarette butts are the most common type of high-rise litter.
There are now 50 per cent more surveillance cameras than in 2019.
Dr Khor added that the NEA took more than 1,000 enforcement actions against people who littered in high-rise buildings last year, through partnerships with town councils in investigating offences. /TISG
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