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BARCELONA

Maps: Which beaches in Spain have banned smoking?

With the news that Barcelona has recently banned smoking on all its city beaches from July, we take a look at where else in Spain has banned smoking on the sand.

No smoking on the beach in Barcelona
Smoke-free beach in Barcelona. Photo: Esme Fox

Barcelona recently announced that it will ban smoking on all of its 10 city beaches from July this year. This means there will be a total of five kilometres of smoke-free sand in Spain’s second-largest city. Last year, Barcelona decided to ban smoking on four of its main beaches between May 29th and September 12th as a trial run, and this year has extended the ban all year round to all its beaches, due to the success. 

Many in Barcelona have praised the move, while many others have taken to social media to express their anger at the rule.

As well as being horrible to find between your toes when sunbathing or when your kids are building a sandcastle, cigarette butts are harmful to the environment and marine life. 

A discarded cigarette butt is made of over 97 percent cellulose acetate and contains 4,000+ chemical toxins.

But, discarded cigarette butts are just half the issue, the other problem is the smoke, which on Spain’s crowded beaches can affect the health and well-being of many others around. 

Barcelona is of course not the only Spanish city to have banned smoking on its public beaches. We take a look at which other beaches across the country have put a stop to it. 

Catalonia

Besides the 10 beaches in Barcelona, many of Catalonia’s beaches have banned smoking, all the way up to the Costa Brava. In fact, Catalonia became the first region to designate a ‘smoke-free’ beach when the town of L’Escala introduced the rule back in 2006. Since then, it has been extended to a total of 19 beaches in the region, these include Sant Feliu, Sant Pol, Canyerets in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Playa de Ocata in El Masnou, Playa de Sa Boadella, Canyelles, Treumal and Fenals in Lloret de Mar, and Playa de L’Escala.

Galicia 

The region of Galicia has the most smoke-free beaches in Spain, with a whopping 187 ocean and river beaches imposing the ban. These include 70 beaches in the province of A Coruña, 32 in Lugo, 12 in Ourense and 73 in Pontevedra. 

Some of the most popular and well-known beaches that are free from tobacco include Santa Cristina in Oleiros, A Rapadoira in Foz, and Silgar in Sanxenxo.

Canary Islands 
 
Gran Canaria is the main island in the Canaries that has introduced smoking bans on its beaches. Across the islands there are currently 41 smoke-free beaches. The municipality of Mogán introduced new rules, along with fines of up to €1800 for discarding cigarette butts on the sand and €450 for anyone caught smoking. These include Playa de Mogán, Anfi, Puerto Rico, Amadores, and Las Marañuelas in Arguineguin.

 
Murcia 
Murcia currently has a total of 12 smoke-free beaches. These include El Rihuete, Playa de Bahía, Playa Reya, Nares and El Castellar in Mazarrón; Playa Villananitos in San Pedro del Pinatar; Playa del Pescador and the main beach in Santiago de la Ribera, Playa Mistral in La Manga, Playa de La Concha in Los Alcázares; la Cala de las Higuericas Águilas; and Playa La Chapineta in La Azohía
 

 
 
 
Andalusia 
 
There are now 48 beaches across Andalusia which have introduced the ban. These include Vera in Almería, Motril and Algarrobo, as well Playa de la Rada Estepona, Vélez-Málaga, Lagos, Mezquitilla, Caleta, Torre del Mar, Almayate, Valle Nizas and Benajarafe in the province of  Málaga.
 
El Chorillo in Conil de la Frontera, El Palmar in Vejer also have smoking bans, as do the beaches in and around Tarifa including Playa Chica, Atlanterra, Valdevaqueros, Playa de los Lances and Bolonia. 
 
Playita de Arroyomolinos in Zahara de la Sierra, Santa Bárbara in La Línea, El Carmen de Barbate and de Zahara de Atunes in the provincia de Cádiz have also banned smoking. 
 

 
Asturias 

Asturias designated smoke-free beaches for the first time in 2019 and now has 14 smoke-free beaches. 

The list currently includes Playa de Misiego, El Puntal y Miami in Villaviciosa and Playa de Los Quebrantos in Soto del Barco.

 
Balearic Islands 
 
The Balearic Islands have around 12 smoke-free beaches between the islands. On Mallorca you can enjoy the fresh air on Cala Estancia, Cala Anguila, Cala Deià, Colonia de Sant Pere, Cala Millor, Sant and Joan in Alcudia. 
 
In Ibiza, smoke-free beaches include Playa de Santa Eulalia del Río and Playa de Talamanca, while in Menorca you can head to Binissafúller or Platja Gran. And finally on Formentera, there’s Playa Es Pujols. 

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ENVIRONMENT

How ‘Baaarcelona’ is recruiting sheep and goats to fight wildfires

It's a rustic scene - sheep and goats graze placidly while a shepherd keeps watch. But this is Barcelona's biggest public park, not the countryside.

How 'Baaarcelona' is recruiting sheep and goats to fight wildfires

Since April, Barcelona city hall has employed 290 sheep and goats to munch undergrowth at the Collserola National Park on the outskirts of Spain’s second-largest city.

The aim of the pilot scheme is to reduce the risk of wildfires by clearing vegetation in an environmentally friendly way. It also helps educate the Mediterranean port city’s 1.6 million residents about the countryside.

“The biggest challenge is re-educating people about rural life,” said Daniel Sánchez, one of the shepherds, as he took the animals out to graze.

The 36-year-old moved to Barcelona from Sant Llorenc Savall, a town some 50 kilometres (30 miles) further inland, to look after the herd. He sleeps in a shed in the park near the sheep and goats.

The 8,200-hectare (20,262-acre) park is 22 times bigger than New York’s Central Park and eight times larger than the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.

Its viewing points offer sweeping vistas of Barcelona, and hiking trails make it popular with joggers, cyclists and people out for a walk.

“Every year it catches fire,” said Sergi Dominguez, a 52-year-old maintenance worker who was in the park walking his dog.

Spanish shepherd Daniel Sánchez, 36, herds his flock of sheep and goats at the natural park of Collserola, near Barcelona on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

‘High risk of wildfires’

The sheep and goats “eat the scrub and that is the best thing that can happen”, added Dominguez, pointing to the dry vegetation. He said he hoped the flock would return next year.

The project ends in June. If it is deemed a success, the authorities may expand it to other green areas.

Ferran Paune, the biologist and livestock farming expert in charge of the project, said the area posed a “very high risk of wildfires”.

“We are in a Mediterranean zone. On top of that, it’s overcrowded, with many urban areas and people living in woodland,” he added.

The aim of the pilot scheme is to reduce the risk of wildfires by clearing vegetation in an environmentally friendly way, while also helping to educate the Mediterranean port city’s 1.6 million residents about rural life. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

“This natural park could burn completely in just eight hours, which could cause a very serious problem — people needing to be evacuated or being injured.”

The goats and sheep appear to have adapted “perfectly” to the urban park, Paune said.

But Sánchez, who gave up a career as a lighting technician a decade ago to become a shepherd, said he was “getting tired” of the city noise and the night-time light pollution.

“I think I hear a sheep screaming and then I realise it’s actually an ambulance siren,” he said.

“Or I want to listen to the herd and there’s a hospital helicopter coming in to land.”

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