In Move To Clean Up Honiara Market, Smoking, Betel Nut Chewing, Alcohol Banned

Healthy Markets initiative comes to popular food market

By John Aata

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, ) – Cigarette, betel nut, and alcohol are now banned at the Honiara Central Market.

This followed the launch of the “No smoking, No betel nut and No Alcohol” in the Honiara Central Market yesterday by the Ministry of Health and the Honiara City Council.

City mayor Andrew Mua said the council will ensure this new initiative is enforced and followed.

“We are taking tough measures to control hygiene and cleanliness of the Central Market, since it is the only facility that our people use to sell food to feed our people in Honiara,” Mr Mua said.

“The council’s law enforcement will monitor the market to stop people selling single rolls and betel nut,” he added.

“Soon we will also ban the lockup shops at the market from selling cigarettes.”

Mr Mua said there will be a designated spot for smokers.

The mayor also warned betel nut chewers that spitting randomly within the market area is a bad habit and people need to stop this as well.

“We must respect the market area and respect the customers and vendors there, because spiting betel nut and smoking among the crowd of people is dangerous to the health of others.”

The initiative is part of the Healthy Food Markets and Healthy Market places programmes, which emerged from the umbrella of the Healthy Settings approach.

The Healthy Food markets programmes entails the provision of sale and nutritious food, the promotion of food safety from production to consumption, and facilitation of cooperation among suppliers, governments and consumers.

Deputy Mayor Charles Aiwosuga in his keynote address appealed to all citizens to take pride and ownership of the market.

“We have a lot of visitors and Honiara residents coming and buying from the central market, so let us prove that we are responsible citizens,” Mr Aiwosuga said.

“I also note that a lot of unhealthy behavior activities are happening in the market,” he added.

“Smoking for instance, betelnut chewing and to some extent the selling and consumption of kwaso is common in the market place.

“These drugs are not only harmful, but contribute to the dirty environment around us.”

The Deputy Mayor urged everyone to work together to keep the market clean and tidy.

“Let us join hands in sharing the message across that the Honiara Central Market is declared a no smoking, no betelnut and no Alcohol zone.

“Let’s take responsibility in looking after the market in making it clean and tidy,” Mr Aiwosuga added.

Director of NCD in the Ministry of Health Dr Geoff Kenilorea in his remarks, further stated that having an environment that is clean and tidy, the Ministry of Health is conscious of the fact that the air we breathe is also clean in referring to a market absent of smoking, meaning no one is to be smoking at the market, selling tobacco products, chewing betel nuts or alcohol selling and consumption.

“Smoking not only predisposes smokers to various unhealthy conditions, it can also cause people who are not smokers who breathe the smoke being exhaled by the smoker to develop cancer among other diseases,” Dr Kenilorea said.

“And that is why the law of the country in the Solomon Islands Tobacco Act 2010 has provisions for where there is to be no smoking,” he added.

He further stated that the Tobacco Control Act 2010 also provides for the designation of other smoke-free settings and with the power vested in the Minister of Health and Medical services had declared the Honiara Central Market a no smoking zone, along with being the market place a healthy setting.

Dr Kenilorea said that the market has also been declared a “no betel nut as well as no alcohol zone”.

Meanwhile, Dr Kenilorea appealed to all citizens of the country to respect, uphold and abide by the initiative towards a happy and healthy Solomon Islands, to join with the whole of South Pacific towards a Tobacco Free Pacific 2025.

Solomon Star
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