Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in www.connectme.com.fj/news/opinion. I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Enforce the Law Please

I went down to the Lautoka market as usual on Friday to meet friends, have a yarn and get an update on what was going on in and around Fiji. I went to my favourite watering hole and it was empty except for the owner and a friend who didn’t look very happy.  I was told the Lautoka City Council had enforced the law about no smoking and drinking yaqona in the market. “Hooray”, I said. But what I was extremely glad about was the no smoking law. Now this is one law that I wish could be enforced everywhere. If I had the authority I would ban smoking in the streets also.

But we sat and lamented that our friends had moved to the other side of the market or the approved side of the market. They could drink grog over there but had to go outside and smoke. So I left them and went to the grog approved side of the market and my other mates were there. But they too were not happy, because each time one of them had to smoke he had to go outside. I said that it would make them smoke less and their lives would improve. But you know what, we were talking to each other at the top of our voices and fanning the fumes that was coming in from outside. Yes the City Council has banned smoking in the market but the buses can still smoke and drip oil and still pollute the air with noise.


Then it was my turn to talk and I shouted, “I wonder why the bus drivers don’t turn off their engines, can't they read the sign put up by the council?”  One old timer said that he found out the reason some buses don’t turn off the engines was because it had to be pushed to start. Each morning the buses are pushed by another bus to get it started. Then the engine is left on until it returns to the garage. And I was also told that some buses have faulty starters. I told him that I didn’t believe him one bit. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Bus owners know the law. They are some of the most upstanding citizens of Fiji. So I went out and checked the buses that had their engine on. The new buses had theirs turned off.  Now that illegal minivans have been taken off the road, surely the bus companies can afford to repair their buses.

If the grog drinkers can adhere to the law and not smoke and drink grog in the market, why can’t bus drivers turn off their engine and not drip oil on the bus stand floor. Now that my new watering hole has been moved next to the bus stand, can I kindly ask the City Council to also enforce the laws that the bus drivers are ignoring? They cause noise, carbon monoxide and oil pollution. The combination of this is one hundred times worse than smoking and drinking grog in the market.  

Comments

Choking exhausts said…
Here, here, Allen. And what about all the other carbon monoxide belching, clapped out, poor excuses for motor vehicles on the rest of our roads? Outside Sigatoka the other day, I came across an LTA checkpoint examining vehicles for road worthiness. Yet within minutes of passing it, I got stuck behind one of those rusty old Japanese cars from the early 80s with a busted exhaust system belching out a trail of white smoke. Even with the air conditioning on and the windows up, the fumes seeped into my car. I feel sorry for some of the owners of these conveyances because many of them clearly don't have the means to update. But it's bad enough having to confront some of the world's worst drivers on our roads than also be choked by their exhausts. I agree with you that some buses constitute a health hazard all of their own. There's certainly little point in draconian anti-smoking laws when you're more likely to die from respiratory failure on the Rakiraki bus.

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