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Smoking ban gradually vanishing into thin air JAKARTA - Clean air campaigners were careful about selecting a smoke-free dining establishment as the venue for a public discussion in Cikini, Central Jakarta, on Thursday. The waitresses, however, had gone about placing ashtrays on every table, encouraging some participants to light up. "It's a fact, the smoking ban is not effective. I don't know why the management of this cafe allows people to smoke," said the moderator of the discussion, Tubagus Haryo Karbiyanto, who chairs the air quality division of the Jakarta Caucus for the Environment.

The discussion was also attended by officials from the Jakarta Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) and City Council Commission D for environmental affairs. The Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi Jakarta), the organizer of the discussion, said the administration had not shown the political will to enforce the ban. "Many building operators, for example, have not met their obligations but we are yet to see the city administration stepping in to punish them," said Walhi Jakarta director Selamet Daroyni.

Previously on Tuesday, Walhi Jakarta revealed findings from its inspection of 10 shopping centers, six university campuses, six houses of worship, two hospitals, four office buildings, three bus terminals and two playgrounds. Selamet said that half of the university campuses had not put up no-smoking signs or designated smoking areas. "The same went for shopping centers, houses of worship, office buildings and public buses," he said.

The smoking ban is part of the 2005 bylaw on air pollution. The bylaw also make emissions tests mandatory for private vehicles and requires public transportation vehicles to use compressed natural gas (CNG). However, since the administration has been slow to issue supporting gubernatorial decrees to implement the bylaw, only the smoking ban regulation has been put into action.

Selamet said Walhi and other environmental groups had submitted six drafts of gubernatorial decrees to support the implementation of the bylaw. Walhi has also set up a hotline to encourage the public to monitor the implementation of the smoking ban. "However, we have only received 60 complaints from the public in the last three months, far lower than 200 complaints in June. This shows the public is apathetic about the administration' s clean air campaign," he said.

Selamet said public involvement was important to push the administration to implement the bylaw. Azas Tigor Nainggolan, the chairman of the Jakarta Residents Forum, said the City Council was also responsible for the poor implementation of the air pollution bylaw. "The Council has failed to do its duty," he said. Yosiono Anwar Supalal, the head of the BPLHD's air control division, said the governor would issue a decree on the smoking ban next week.



Posted in General @ 17 November 2006 09:37 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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