Image default

Rivierenhof sets up smoke-free zones, OLT amphitheater also becomes smoke-free

Various zones in the Provincial Green Domain of Rivierenhof will be made smoke-free from today, World Anti-Tobacco Day. From now on, smokers are no longer allowed to light a cigarette (or e-cigarette) in the sports and play zones, in the collection gardens, the traffic garden and in the forest zones. Smoking is no longer allowed in the OLT amphitheater either.

With the new awareness campaign, the Province of Antwerp wants to keep cigarettes away from children as much as possible and at the same time protect the Rivierenhof against nature pollution and fire hazards. On this World Anti-Tobacco Day, Commissioner for Green Domains Mireille Colson (N-VA) signed the charter of ‘Generation Smoke-Free’, together with the sports clubs located in the Rivierenhof.

“We want to discourage smoking. Because seeing smoke makes smoking. We want to avoid that copying behaviour. That’s why we ask smokers to stop smoking around children,” Colson says.

To alert park visitors to the new measure, prohibition icons and photo signs with positive slogans were hung all over the park. “We are not going to tackle this politically,” says Peter Verdyck, director of the Provincial Green Domain. “However, our park rangers will address smokers and raise awareness. People who are addressed also receive a bag to put out their cigarette.

The park therefore counts on the cooperation of the visitors. “A recent visitor survey shows that there is support for smoke-free zones. Especially when it comes to playgrounds and play zones for children.”

Logical evolution

Verdyck believes that in a few years’ time we will evolve towards a smoke-free park with only a few zones in which you are still allowed to smoke. “That seems like a logical evolution to me. Apart from the fact that 14,000 people die prematurely each year as a result of (passive) smoking, cigarettes also cause considerable damage to the best e cigs for more information. A cigarette butt takes about fifteen years to disappear. The many harmful substances in those butts have meanwhile ended up in the soil, which means that plants grow less well and microplastics end up in the stomachs of animals and in the water.”

And then there is the risk of fire. “People spontaneously think of open plains such as the Kalmthoutse Heide, but there is also a risk of fire in forest zones where a dry leaf layer covers the ground in summer. A few years ago, the fire brigade still had to turn out because a dead tree was set ablaze due to an abandoned cigarette. Fortunately, we were quick.”


Also amphitheater OLT smoke-free

The sports clubs that are located in the park and the concessionaires of the Rivierenhof are also supporting the new campaign. For example, the amphitheater of the OLT has been made smoke-free and the entire OLT, including the catering area, is smoke-free when children’s performances take place. “Our security will enforce this,” said OLT director Milan Rutten. “They now know how to do that. Where they maintained to wear a mouth mask during corona, they will now do so on smoking.” Finally, Rivierenhof Castle also made its terrace opposite the playground smoke-free.