Tuesday 17 December 2013

Lower Seletar Reservoir Park declared smoke-free

'Health ambassadors' will inform public of new rules
By Poon Chian Hui, The Straits Times, 16 Dec 2013

ANYONE caught puffing at Lower Seletar Reservoir Park can now be fined up to $2,000 after it was declared smoke-free.

Yesterday, the park along Yishun Avenue 1 joined seven other parks islandwide to be designated as non-smoking zones, as part of a broader initiative towards smoke-free living in the community.

The others include the Singapore Botanic Gardens, HortPark, Bedok Reservoir Park and Yishun Neighbourhood 8 Park. Signs have already been put up around Lower Seletar Reservoir Park to inform visitors of the new rules.

Some 20 Nee Soon South residents have been trained as volunteer "health ambassadors". Their task is to inform park users, including smokers, of the park's smoke-free status, said Nee Soon South MP Lee Bee Wah, who launched the initiative yesterday.

Residents who frequent the park have been lobbying for smoking to be banned there, she said.

"We understand that people who come to parks want to breathe in clean air."

Some residents have also told Dr Lee that they had seen smokers stubbing out their cigarette butts on park property like the bridge, causing damage.

"We hope that banning smoking will also ease the problem," she added. "But we want to do more publicity and education first, before going into enforcement."

Ms Kartini Omar, director of parks at the National Parks Board, hopes that visitors will cooperate in making the new initiative a success.

The initiative is also in line with the Health Promotion Board's Blue Ribbon movement which aims to get organisations to voluntarily declare their premises fully smoke-free.

Plans are in place to make Nee Soon South the first "100 per cent smoke-free" constituency in Singapore whereby people are allowed to puff only at designated points.

Dr Lee added that the plans are likely to take effect next month, starting at one residents' committee zone.

Residents are happy to hear that smoking is no longer allowed at the reservoir park.

Housewife Madam Lee Peck Hong, 41, said she intends to take her three young children to the park more often.

Madam Lee Swee Chu, 73, said she often visits the park on weekends to exercise. But she does not like the occasional whiff of second-hand smoke.

"It really stinks," she said.


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