Friday 29th April 2022 – Mike Smith
Source: press release – Ajuntament de Xàbia
At the April plenary session held on Thursday evening, Xàbia Council approved a series of measures aimed at improving the environmental protection along the coast, of which one is that it will be implementing “smoke-free beaches” to adhere to the regional network that promotes the creation of health spaces for citizens, protected from the harmful effects of tobacco and the waste that smoking generates (it is estimated that cigarette butts account for more then 30% of the waste found in the environment).
The councillor responsible for Tourism and Environment, Toni Miragall, explained that the proposal comes shortly after the Spanish Government approved the Ley de Residuos Sólidos – the Solid Waste Law – which is a regulation that gives legal protection to local councils to promote the ban on smoking on beaches and coves, all of which will soon be marked as smoke-free spaces.
Another agreement reached on environmental issues is related to the use of sanitary wet wipes, a product which, due to its confusing labelling and low awareness of citizens who throw them down the toilet, end up clogging pipes and sewers, whilst Xàbia suffers more than most because these disposed wet wipes often end up in the sea, not only damaging the marine ecosystem, but also ending up polluting the coastline as the current and waves deposit them onto the beaches and coves.
A motion, tabled by the PSPV-Xàbia, calls for Xàbia to launch informative and public awareness campaigns whilst also calling for the Spanish Government to push for legislative changes that require manufacturers of sanitary wet wipes to place clearer warnings on their labelling, explaining that the product is not sustainable nor biodegradable and cannot be flushed down the toilet.
A proposal from Compromís added to the motion a request for a ban on its sale and a commitment from the local council and the Confederación Hidrográfica del Xúquer (CHJ) to improve surveillance of the sewer network that crosses the riverbed of the Gorgos to prevent possible wastewater discharges into the sea, which are often accompanied by wet wipes that have been wrongly disposed.
A third agreement on environmental sustainability was linked to measures to reduce the impact of tourism on coves during the summer month and the plenary session approved the introduction of a new tax to control parking in these places, implementing a charge of 9 euros per day to vehicles that wish to park at these beaches, a system that will be complemented by public transport. The motion passed with the votes of the PSPV and CpJ, despite abstentions from Compromís and Ciudadanos, and votes against from PP.
The plenary session approved unanimously the new Ordenanza General de Subvenciones, a general regulation on local aid that will guarantee equal access to citizens and groups through a procedure that will govern transparency, resource efficiency and equity.
In recent years, Xàbia Council has experienced an increase in economic support subsidies, particularly as a result of the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and its response to various demand from a social, economic, cultural and sporting nature of municipal public interest.
The new regulation intends to have a basis from which to start when offering a line of subsidies, streamlining the process. In addition, another complementary instrument is proposed, such as a strategic plan for subsidies (which must be approved in full) through which to plan them, to specify the objectives of them, the time required for implementation, the foreseeable costs, and the sources of the finance.