Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Honolulu Looks To Ban B.O.

Photograph of a TMC RTS-08(?) taken at Alapa{{...Image via Wikipedia

The city council of Honolulu is considering passing a law that would make it illegal to board city buses if the person in bringing on the bus any "odor" that would unreasonably disturb other or interfere with their use of the transit system. It does not matter whether the odor comes from the person, their clothes, or anything they may have in their possession.

Councilman Rod Tam, one of the co-sponsors of the bill is quoted in the USA Today with the reason the bill is necessary. "As we become more inundated with people from all over the world, their way of taking care of their health is different. Some people, quite frankly, do not take a bath every day and therefore they may be offensive in terms of their odor."

The question becomes, how do you determine what the standard is before someone's earthy aroma is offensive enough to be declared "illegal?" Likewise, what odors shall be deemed offensive? Aside from body odor, there are other odors that could be offensive inside the close quarters of a bus. Things like foods, cologne, or a baby with a full diaper.

Some people, myself included, are more sensitive to some odors than others. For instance, I used to work with a couple people who would put on some much cologne/perfume that you could walk down an empty hallway and smell their perfume. Or worse yet, they would leave their scent in the elevator. That always made my eyes water. One time, a supervisor who wore excessive amounts of cologne, slapped me on the back and I smelled like him for hours.

I know that I would not want to be sitting next to somebody who stunk to high heaven. I can understand how people would complain about the bad smell on public transit. What I don't get is how you could realistically enforce such legislation. I could see it opening the door for all sorts of litigation.

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  1. This is a tough one because while I think its a great concept I agree with you that it will open the door for litigation and God knows we have enough of that going on. I'm not sure exactly what would be an ideal manner with which to hand this situation. Interesting article though, thanks for sharing. I'm going to post this link on my facebook page.

  2. Yeah, this is impossible to enforce. Riding the bus is a lot more fleeting than working with Mr. Stinky who wears too much cologne for 8 hours a day. That's brutal.

  3. Tough to legislate common sense.



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