Go Green, This City Will Fine Travelers Who Smoke on the Beach

Barcelona shows its seriousness in tackling air pollution. One way to do this is by expanding the smoke-free area to the coast.

Reporting from The Guardian, Sunday (21/2/2021), Barcelona, ​​which is the destination of foreign tourists in Spain, is trying to improve air quality. Catalonia will implement smoke-free regulations on four of its most popular beaches.

"To be a healthy city, which is smoke and tobacco smoke free," said Gemma Tarafa, the council's health spokesperson.

Smoking will be banned on the beaches of San Miquel, Somorrostro, Nova Icaria and Nova Mar Bella. The policy is currently in a pilot scheme which will run from 29 May-12 September.

The plan is that tourists and residents will first be told not to smoke on the four beaches. Currently, there is no fine agreed upon by the government.

Apart from the four beaches, including Sant Sebastia, a popular nudist beach in Spain, tourists are still free to smoke.

If the pilot project on the four beaches is successful, Barcelona will add to the long list of smoke-free beaches, to six. In addition, there will be added parks and bus stops starting next year.

In addition, about 15 percent of the 32 million cigarette butts are made into the sea every year. Within 10 years, rotting cigarette butts in the ocean released arsenic, iron, nickel and cadmium particles that poison the food chain. Not only harming humans, those who live in the sea are also tormented by smoking.

The ban on smoking indoors came into effect in 2012. This policy has been welcomed by restaurant owners and their clients. But in 2019 the government again proposed a ban on smoking on outdoor terraces. This policy also caused protests from many parties.

The policy proposal has not been discussed again because of the Covid-19 case. The terrace itself is an important place for bar and restaurant entrepreneurs who close their indoor spaces.

Under Covid Catalonia restrictions, outdoor smoking is prohibited anywhere. Barcelona is not the first city in Spain to ban smoking on the beach. The first is Baiona in the south west of Galacia. There are now 115 of 3,514 beaches in Spain that are smoke-free.

In fact, Barcelona has been pursuing smoke-free efforts since several years ago. Because about 2,200 city residents die from smoking-related diseases every year.

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