Last Sunday 6th September, the main part of the campaign to reduce the number of cigarette butts discarded by smokers on Xàbia’s beaches – “Por Un Mar Sin Colillas” – came to an end. The initiative, promoted by the Town Council, the Rotary Club Jávea and Club Náutico de Jávea, began in early August.
The campaign involved the distribution of disposable cardboard ashtrays to smokers using the beaches of La Grava, La Barraca and the Arenal as well the the facilities of Club Naútico de Jávea to raise awareness of the importance of avoiding polluting the sea with discarded butts.
In addition to members from the Rotary Club, volunteers from “Xàbia Neta Entre Tots”, “Jávea Te Quiero Limpia” and Cala Clemence in Playa de la Barraca also participated in the campaign along with the support of staff from the Council who had been contracted to control the capacity of the beaches during the summer. Councillor Kika Mata (Services) was also on hand every weekend to lend her personal support to the campaign.
It has been estimated that some 4,000 cigarette butts have been collected in the special methacrylate containers that were manufactured for the project but it is realised that many more have still been discarded along the coast of Xàbia. It is hoped that the campaign has raised awareness amongst smokers who are becoming increasingly sensitive to the need to promote a cleaner environment and avoid unnecessary damage to the marine ecosystem. Many have already praised the organisers for their efforts in spreading the idea.
Amongst the lessons learnt during the project, it has been found that the greatest number of cigarette butts discarded on the beach was not generated during bathing hours but during the time when the beaches and promenades are used in the afternoon and evenings as meeting places and for strolls. This fact has identified the need to find a way to raise awareness amongst these users for the need to discard their butts in the appropriate ashtrays.
The campaign is yet to be totally complete as the Club Náutico de Jávea will be continuing to promote the project in the coming months with the installation of ashtrays at its entrance for the use of those who go out to sea.
Likewise it has been proposed to extend the project to the general population during the winter months, replaceing the motto for another which says: “Por Un Pueblo Sin Colillas” – “For a Town without Cigarette Butts” – and placing ashtrays in strategtic places during the fiestas and celebrations.
This initial campaign has filled the promoters with hope that they have taken the first steps that will lead to a healthier environment for the future population of Xàbia and thanked the volunteers and collaborators who made the project successful.
SOURCE: Press Release – Rotary Club de Jávea