Thermal cameras are out to catch smoking ban violators thanks to National Environmental Agency

While smoking bans and prohibitions are in place, actually enforcing this rule can be difficult, since people still smoke wherever they want and bystanders are left to enforce the rule if they want to.

But with the deployment of new cameras all over the island to cover more than 32,000 establishments that do not allow smoking in their vicinity, apprehending and punishing offenders is easier.

In a report by The Straits Times, the National Environmental Agency is set to deploy special thermal cameras in ey areas of the island to catch offenders smoking where they aren’t supposed to.

According to the report, the cameras will be positioned in inconspicuous places and pointing only to the areas where there are prevalent offenders of the smoking ban, which are all public areas.

The report further says that the thermal images can capture the date and time that the incident occurred. Aside from smoking ban violators, littering and spitting offenders may also be caught using the specific cameras, especially in public areas where they will be pointed.

Privacy concerns

The NEA said that the cameras will only be pointed at lift areas, public corridors, staircases, and entrances to establishments that ban smoking. They also said that they value the privacy of citizens.

The viewing of the footage recorded will only be authorised to NEA staff and the vendor for this camera deployment project.

Deployment every year

According to the same report, the NEA has plans to release 140 cameras every year. The government has been steadily-expanding the areas that disallow smoking for decades, and they are gearing up for larger and larger public spaces that prohibit smoking.

Reports say that this is to protect non-smokers from the bad effects of secondhand smoke.

People still don’t follow the ban?

The most recent change to the rules happened in October, when smoking was prohibited campus areas and in privately-hired cars and buses.

Two years ago in 2016, smoking was outlawed in public housing staircases, common spaces in buildings, bus stops, and parks in both public and private housing.

The next step, according to the report, would be to ban smoking in the Orchard Road precinct in a No Smoking Zone. Business establishments have already been given time to allot areas for smokers in their premises.

What do netizens think of this new surveillance measure?

Here’s what netizens have to say about the upcoming deployment of the cameras:

This guy was thinking of ways to troll the cameras.

Others were concerned about the people involved in this project.

Some where surprised at the level of sophistication of these cameras.

While others mentioned “Big Brother.”

Some supported this project, articulating that some smokers are very difficult to talk to, and that this sort of policing is needed.

Others also talked about the combative nature of smokers when you remind them of the ban.

While others suggested that the smokers should wear some sort of censor.

What do you think of this new measure? Let us know in the comments!

Header image from Shutterstock, Asian man smoking.


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