Do we really need a subway ban on food and drinks?

By Ember Swift
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 6, 2013
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Here in China, "civility training" or "civilization training" has ranked high on the social agenda for the past several years. Citizens have been urged to reduce their spitting on the sidewalks, to dispose of litter in the waste receptacles along the streets and to be willing to help out their fellow citizen in times of need or struggle in the public environment, for example.

A girl was eating noodles in subway. [File photo]

The Shanghai government would be more likely to see improvements if they were to categorize the reduction (if not elimination) of food and beverage consumption on public transit as an area of behavioral training that must be popularized among the public. In other words, a ban (accompanied by a monetary fine) is less likely to be effective at achieving its goal than would be the collective behavioral propaganda inherent in civilization training.

The ban's rationale is that food consumption is often accompanied by strong odors in small spaces where people are crowded together; these odors are disturbing to other passengers. Furthermore, any possible spillage of food that contains liquid or heavy sauces could result in a hazardous situation for other travelers as it leaves its slippery waste under the soles of other people's shoes.

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