Xàbia Council has got together with the Rotary Club Xàbia and Club Náutico de Jávea to launch an environmental awareness campaign aimed at beachgoers and boat users who smoke cigarettes in a bid to encourage them to stop throwing away their butts into the environment, residue that is currently an ever-present pollution problem along the coast and is very difficult to remove from the beaches and ends up contaminating the precious seabed.
Throughout this summer, some 10,000 cardboard ashtrays will be distributed to smokers using the municipal beaches whilst special bins will be installed on the promenades into which these ashtrays can be deposited. These containers will also become part of the message highlighting the impact of thousands of cigarette butts discarded onto our beaches every day. The cardboard ashtrays have also been selected because if a smoker forgets to remove it from the beach, they don’t become just another source of plastic waste. They will also be printed with messages to raise awareness of the degree of pollution that discarded butts pose to the sea and what responsible behaviour is expected from them.
The campaign has been the idea of the Rotary Club Xàbia and its president Luis Santos explained that in recent months the organisation has included caring for the environment as one of its strategic objectives and that this is the first project which they have activated. the Club Náutico de Jávea has also decided to become involved by raising awareness amongst its members and its manager Luis Nogueroles explained that the club has organised coastal cleaning days for many years and which has been the most collected items is cigarette butts, adding that any initiative that serves to raise awareness of the need to protect the maritime environment is something the club is very prepared to support.
The current restricted access policy to the municipality’s beaches due to the COVID-19 health crisis will help the campaign to reach everyone since the special ashtrays will be available at the designated entrances to the beaches whilst there will be personnel available to explain about the campaign. Councillor Toni Miragall (Beaches) explained that one of the recommendations for the use of beaches and to promote health and safety has included smoking on the beaches, adding that his department has been studying the possibility of developing a local by-law which would prohibit smoking and that, following sustainability policies, Xàbia offers some “smoke free” beaches.