MANILA, Philippines—A day after it floated the idea of designating urinals as smoking areas, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday dropped the proposal following negative feedback from health practitioners.
“Plano lang po iyon, hindi na matutuloy (That’s just a plan. It’s not pushing through anymore),” MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino said.
In a forum in Quezon City on Tuesday, Tolentino said they were studying the possibility of using the public urinals along sidewalks as smoking areas.
He said the smoke would help reduce the smell inside the urinals.
But this was immediately opposed by medical experts, who stressed about the health hazards that could arise from turning urinals as smoking areas too.
Doctors explained that people taking a leak in those urinals might develop cigarette-related respiratory diseases if they inhaled the smoke there.
“Mungkahi lamang po ito na aming pinag-aaralan (This was just a proposal that we were studying) to maximize the utilization of existing urinals…but given the reaction of other sectors, we’re willing not to push through with it,” Tolentino said.
Since July 1, around 800 people have been apprehended by the MMDA for violating the Metro Manila smoking ban in public places.
First-time violators are fined P500 or required to participate in eight hours of community service.
Apart from environmental enforcers of the MMDA, members of the Philippine National Police will also soon be tapped to apprehend smokers puffing away in public places.