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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

You can now be fined €2,000 in Spain for leaving cardboard in the street

Two stiff fines handed out to Madrid residents who left cardboard boxes next to recycling bins rather than inside them have brought to attention a new Spain-wide law against leaving waste on the street.

You can now be fined €2,000 in Spain for leaving cardboard in the street

It’s not uncommon in Spain to see large cardboard boxes sitting on the street next to the bins, instead of inside them.

Whether it’s as a result of the contenedores de basura (bins) being full and the boxes not fitting through the slits, leaving cardboard by the side of the bin is something that most of us living in Spain have probably been guilty of at some point.

The alarming news is that if you commit this misdemeanour in Spain, you can now actually be fined for it.

A law was passed by the Spanish government in April 2022, but it is only now coming to light following two cases of people being fined for doing exactly this.

Article 108 of law 07/2022 states that “the abandonment, including littering, the dumping and uncontrolled management of any type of non-hazardous waste puts people’s health at serious risk or is causing serious damage or deterioration to the environment”, and it is therefore an offence.

Article 109 of the same law states that the fine for minor infractions can be up to €2,001, for serious infractions penalties range from €2,001 to €100,000 and for very serious offences penalties go from €100,000 to €3.5 million.

In late September 2022, a man in the Barajas neighbourhood of Madrid received a fine from the Madrid City Council, for “leaving a box outside the dumpster meant for the disposal of cardboard”. The city hall decided that he should pay €2,001.

This is the second fine that has occurred recently, with another woman being fined in Madrid’s Aravaca neighbourhood for leaving a large cardboard box outside the bins, which contained baby nappies she bought on the internet.

She was identified because her name and address were on a sticker on the outside of the box, but she has claimed that it wasn’t her who left the box by the side of the bin but rather one of the building’s concierges who was responsible for taking out the neighbours’ rubbish. 

There is no evidence that towns and cities in other regions in Spain are currently handing out such large fines to their citizens, but Spanish law states they are now at liberty to do so, and municipalities can also implement their own laws and fines relating to incorrect waste disposal. 

Madrid City Council has defended its actions pointing out that it has recently drawn up its own new law for the Cleaning of Public Spaces, Waste Management and Circular Economy, and that those who are fined can reduce the amount by 40 percent if they pay in the first 15 days after receiving the fine.

The aim of this is to have a cleaner city by implementing measures that “enable the reduction of waste generation to guarantee the protection of the environment and people’s health, and to promote a greater collective awareness,” the council said in a statement.

The draft bill is set to be approved in December and includes new penalties for offences such as leaving large cardboard boxes outside their corresponding bin, with proposed fines of up to €750 for not properly recycling bottles or other glass objects.

Madrid also plans to hand out €3,000 to revellers who don’t throw away bottles and other waste from botellones (outdoor drinking gatherings).

Between now and December, when the bill will be approved, citizens can put forward their arguments stating whether they believe the sanctions are too high and if they are justified before it is voted upon by the council.  

Madrid city mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida said he was “surprised” by the high fines but explained that the final amounts will be enshrined in the new decree. He hasn’t indicated what will happen to those who have already been slapped with the higher €2,001 penalties.

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