Mon, Jun 25, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Letters: Taichung's smoking ban

After reading an article in the Taipei Times, I was disappointed to learn of a proposal that would ban smoking in all of Taichung's outdoor public spaces. I support a smoking ban on indoor locations, but to pass a law banning smoking outdoors is a waste of time, money and effort that could be better spent elsewhere.

First, who will enforce this ban? Daily, I see policemen turning a blind eye to all sorts of traffic violations such as speeding, driving the wrong way down a road, turning left at intersections, turning right on red lights and riding motorcycles without helmets.

These are serious violations that can cause severe injury or death. If a number of police officers don't care about these serious offenses, why should they care about a smoking ban, especially when the majority of police officers in Taiwan are smokers themselves?

Second, if the Taichung City Government is so concerned about the pollution in our city, why don't they enforce strict regulations regarding scooter pollution? Not a day goes by where I don't drive through thick blue smoke that pours out of hundreds, if not thousands of scooters.

Three-wheel farm vehicles that are dangerous, uninsured and polluting also contributing to the problem.

Every six months I have to pay to have my car inspected to make sure it's roadworthy. Is there no similar law for scooters? Do scooters not need to be emissions tested like vehicles in so many other countries?

Third, if pollution is such a big concern, why is burning ghost money allowed? I know this is Taiwanese tradition and culture, but is it really necessary to honor your ancestors or gods by creating a lot of pollution?

I would think that gods and ancestors would want us to live in a safe world that is free from pollution, not in a world where our methods of honoring them are contributing to disease and death.

If the Taichung City Government really wants to reduce pollution in our city and create a better living environment for its residents, I think there are other options that are more viable, realistic and attainable than a smoking ban.

Steve Bateson


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