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For urine or smoke? MMDA mulls using urinals as smoking area

July 5, 2011 4:51pm

Tags: MMDA
Smokers itching to light a cigarette in public places amid a smoking ban in Metro Manila might soon have a specially designated area to satisfy their urge: inside a male urinal.

On Tuesday, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino said they are studying the possibility of using their pink and green public urinals along sidewalks as smoking areas.

The plan came days after the MMDA started implementing on July 1 a Metro Manila-wide ban on smoking in public places. Violators are required to pay P500 or participate in eight hours of community service.

Still, Tolentino stressed at a press conference in Quezon City that nothing is final yet of the plan. "We're still studying the plan regarding urinals, given the objection of some parties."

In particular, several medical experts have expressed their concerns about the health hazards that could arise from turning urinals as smoking areas too.

Officials from the Philippine Medical Association said people taking a leak in those urinals might develop cigarette-related respiratory diseases if they inhale the smoke there.

In response, Tolentino said they might eventually end up erecting two types of public urinals: one for people who would be urinating, and another for those who would be puffing smoke.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, through a memorandum issued last week, has already directed both the Philippine National Police and the Metro Manila mayors to support and assist the MMDA in implementing the smoking ban.

The PNP was tasked to deploy police forces who would help in apprehending people caught violating the smoking ban, while mayors were urged to incorporate the MMDA's smoking ban guidelines in their respective anti-smoking-related ordinances.

As of last count, Tolentino said the government has so far arrested more than 900 smoking ban violators - 500 were apprehended by the MMDA, while the remaining were apprehended by the respective LGU personnel. — RSJ, GMA News
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