The Barcelona City Council has prohibited smoking on all its beaches since Monday, after the municipal plenary session last Friday definitively approved it.
The Catalan coast is left without beaches: “We have urbanized very badly and the sea recovers what is its own”
The five kilometers of coastline that belong to the Catalan capital have therefore been declared smoke-free. Bathers who fail to comply with the rule will be sanctioned with fines of 30 euros, as reported at a press conference by the Councilor for Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition of the City Council, Eloi Badia, who has considered that “it will not be necessary to fine”. He has so assured, based on the pilot experience of last year.
And it is that this prohibition is the final point of the anti-smoking strategy on the beaches that the council began last season, when it launched a pilot test and prohibited smoking on four of its 10 beaches: Sant Miquel, Somorrostro, Nova Icària and Nova Marbella.
According to data from the City Council, only 3% of the population smoked on these four beaches, while 10% of smokers were detected on the rest. “Last year no one was sanctioned. Everyone understood it and only a few clueless smokers had to be warned”, according to Badía.
Thus, in view of the successful pilot test, the City Council decided to apply this ban to the entire coastline and, to this end, this April it began an awareness campaign that featured information posters and informants. Now, the information tasks will be reinforced with a person in charge on each beach and will have the support of the Guàrdia Urbana.
Get rid of butts
With this rule, Barcelona becomes the first large city in Spain to ban smoking on all its beaches. To make it possible, it has had to modify the ordinance on the use of roads and public spaces.
According to the City Council, this regulation is legally protected by a state rule approved at the end of March in Congress, which provides that, in order to curb the generation of waste on the beaches, city councils can limit smoking on the beaches.
“Each year, five million butts end up in the sea of the Spanish State”, Badía assured. This waste, which takes 10 years to decompose, was reduced by 50% on the beaches that participated in the pilot test last year. She has also highlighted that this rule is viewed favorably by eight out of 10 citizens of Barcelona (both smokers and non-smokers).