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Ban smoking cars too, say Adventists

Published:Friday | June 28, 2013 | 12:00 AM

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, while congratulating the Government on the upcoming ban on smoking in public spaces, has declared it is also concerned about the level of smoke emission that comes from some vehicles on the island's roads.

These emissions, the Church said in a release, are equally harmful and detrimental to human beings and the environment, with their various toxic chemicals.

"The ban on smoking is a huge step in the right direction of having the health and well-being of our society put at the forefront of nation building, but they (the Government) need to go further," Dr Milton Gregory, health ministries director of the Jamaica Union Conference, said in the release.

"Now is the time for the powers that be to enforce the 1938 Road Traffic Act, Section 43 (2), which makes it an offence for an individual having control of a motor vehicle to permit 'any unreasonable amount of smoke to escape' from such vehicle."

In addition, there is a punitive fee of up to $4,000 to be paid by individuals found guilty of committing this offence.

"Every day, thousands of Jamaicans breathe heavily polluted air, which is filled with poisonous vehicular smoke emissions consisting of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, suspended sulphates, sulphur dioxide, nitrates, lead, dirt and soot," said Gregory.

"What needs to be done to stem the tide of this threat to public health is to make provision for more emission sites to do testing. Ten sites in the Corporate Area are just not enough to cope with the volume of motor vehicles that crowd our busy streets daily, (and) furthermore, best practices in terms of air-quality management, which includes alternative fuels," he added.

"We also believe that the same effort that is placed on overweight trucks that will damage the road should also be put into keeping individuals and the environment healthy."