February 1st marks the date. That's when the Rotterdam zoo will become entirely smoke-free. On that date, the last smoking points will also be permanently removed from the garden. Both visitors and staff will no longer be allowed to smoke within the gates.
As the green lungs of the city and as one of the most visited attractions in the Netherlands for parents with children, the decision wasn't difficult. When Blijdorp heard that the government was going to tighten the measures for smoking in amusement parks, it was decided to gradually ban cigarettes as well as vapes and e-cigarettes. The complete ban will be in effect from February 1st. It's a well-chosen moment, as evidenced by the growing support for smoking bans in places where many children are present, such as amusement parks, beaches, and... zoos.
Besides the health aspect, smoking no longer fits within the new, even more sustainable course that the Rotterdam zoo has been setting since November 1st last year. Annually, hundreds of millions of cigarette filters end up on the streets in the Netherlands. A mountain of waste, a large part of which ends up in nature. Filters are mostly made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that breaks down into numerous microplastics. Thus, discarded cigarette filters are one of the largest forms of plastic pollution worldwide. With the smoking ban, Diergaarde Blijdorp wants to help reduce this immense problem and simultaneously contribute to building a Smoke-Free Generation.
The Municipality of Rotterdam also responds positively to the step Diergaarde Blijdorp is taking. Responsible alderman Faouzi Achbar, who fights daily for a healthy city, is very pleased that a Rotterdam attraction of this size is becoming completely smoke-free: “The decision of Diergaarde Blijdorp contributes enormously to the normalization of non-smoking. It's a great step towards a smoke-free city and a smoke-free generation.”
Both the zoo and the municipality hope that the public will wholeheartedly embrace the new policy and that the green lungs of the city will become a bit greener.