As a tourist, you must now be particularly vigilant, otherwise it could cost you dearly.
Prospective travelers planning to visit Spain should think carefully about their choices before lighting up a cigarette on the coast. The San Antonio City Council in Ibiza has announced that the busy Caló des Moro beach will now be declared tobacco-free. This initiative is the latest in a series aimed at promoting public health and reducing the number of cigarette butts that end up in the sand.
Earlier this year, Spain banned smoking at 28 popular Balearic beaches, including beaches in Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza. If the effect of the smoking ban in Caló des Moro proves to be successful, the city council will consider extending this measure to other beaches in San Antonio.
Although smokers who decide to light a cigarette on a smoke-free beach will not necessarily be penalised, as enforcement of the law recently passed by Spain last year falls to local courts and city councils, it would be wise to avoid the risk. The fines could potentially reach 1700 euros, which would make a wise decision to abstain.
Beyond the public health aspect, these decisions are taken because cigarette butts left on beaches constitute a major environmental problem. First of all, they are composed of a cellulose acetate filter which takes several years to decompose. During this time, they become integrated into the marine ecosystem, being able to be ingested by marine fauna, thus causing digestive obstructions and intoxication.
In addition, cigarette butts contain residues of chemicals and toxins, resulting from the combustion of tobacco. When in contact with water, these chemicals dissolve and pollute the aquatic environment. This affects water quality, making contaminated areas less suitable for marine life and may even have toxic effects on living organisms.
The presence of cigarette butts on the beaches also harms the aesthetics of the places, reducing their attractiveness for visitors and devaluing the natural environment. In addition, cleaning beaches is expensive for municipalities, which is an economic burden.