Spain to ban smoking on ALL beaches, fine anyone caught lighting £ 1,700
Spain is preparing to ban smoking on all of its beaches, allowing councils to fine violators of up to 2,000 euros (£ 1,700).
The national law aims to combat pollution caused by cigarette butts, which constitute a major environmental problem along the 3,000 miles of the country’s coastline.
Cigarette butts are one of the most harmful pollutants, containing a non-biodegradable plastic polymer that releases toxic compounds.
Several Spanish regions, including Barcelona and the Canary Islands, have already introduced similar smoking bans on beaches.
The move comes months after a petition was signed by more than 283,000 people and delivered to the government asking for a change in the law.
Spain is preparing to ban smoking on all its beaches months after a petition was signed by more than 283,000 people and handed over to the government. Pictured: A sign indicating that smoking is prohibited on July 11, 2020 in Sanxenxo, Galicia, Spain [file photo]
The new law was introduced by an environmental party as an amendment to a less drastic government initiative to recommend coastal areas promote tobacco-free beaches.
Some beaches introduced bans on smoking a little last summer to limit the spread of the coronavirus, promote health and reduce pollution.
Other parts of Europe have also decided to ban smoking on beaches, including parts of southern France and Sardinia.
However, Spain’s national ban is the first of its kind in Europe.
The law was passed months after a petition with more than 283,000 signatures was delivered to the government calling for action against beach pollution.
Fernandez Megina, a member of the No Fumadores (No Smoking) campaign group, said the petition showed the government was eager to act.
The law received 182 votes in parliament, with 70 votes against and 88 abstentions.
He was supported by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, the left-wing Podemos party and the Centrist Citizens Party. The ultra-nationalist Vox party voted against, while the conservative People’s Party abstained.
An analysis carried out by the European Environment Agency in 2018 found that cigarette butts and the filters they contain are among the most common items found on beaches in Europe.
Damage from cigarette butts has been widely reported, with scientists warning that the nicotine, metals and benzene they contain can leach out.
Pictured: A beach in Barcelona with a ban on throwing cigarettes on the sand
Pictured: A man is seen smoking on a beach in Almunecar, Andalusia, Spain[photoarchive)[filephoto)[photod’archives)[filephoto)
This can contaminate soil and aquatic habitats, with filters also posing a serious risk to marine life as they can be swallowed by animals.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has placed environmental issues at the heart of his government’s policy and has set a target for Spain to be carbon neutral by 2050.
News of the law came as the Omicron variant appeared poised to further harm Spain’s tourism industry, which has already been hit hard by the global pandemic.
The number of nights booked by tourists in Spanish hotels quintupled in November compared to the same month a year earlier, but was still 20% lower than in November 2019, according to data released Thursday.
The number of nights booked rose to 14.8 million in November, from 2.8 million the same month in 2020, the National Department of Statistics announced Thursday.
About 40 percent of hotel rooms were booked by Spanish residents, and most foreigners went to the Canary Islands. Winter is a strong season for the Canaries, where northern Europeans love to travel to take advantage of the warm weather.
The data is encouraging for Spain’s tourism-dependent economy, which has seen a strong industry recovery in recent months, although the Omicron variant may have a negative impact.
A pedestrian walks through the deserted central street of La Rambla, Barcelona, on the night of December 23-24, 2021, as Spain’s Catalonia reimposes a nighttime curfew
Shoppers wearing face masks to protect themselves against Covid-19 walk past Christmas lights on the streets of Madrid on December 22, 2021
The government expects the number of foreign tourists coming to the country in the fourth quarter to reach two-thirds of its 2019 level, before the pandemic strikes.
Currently, only fully vaccinated tourists can enter Spain from the UK. Those who are not vaccinated and are traveling for tourism purposes cannot enter Spain, and only those who are not vaccinated and are traveling for “essential” purposes can enter.
Spain is also expected to make it mandatory once again to wear a face mask outdoors as part of a program to contain the rapidly spreading variant of the Omicron coronavirus, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters on Wednesday.
With nearly 80% of its population vaccinated and an accelerating booster program, Spain has been largely spared the galloping wave of infections that has led several northern European countries to tighten restrictions on the disease. fall.
But the recent arrival of Omicron has caused the numbers to explode, with a record of around 60,000 new infections on Wednesday, although hospital admissions and intensive care cases remain fairly low compared to previous waves of COVID. -19.
Some pundits and opposition parties have criticized Sanchez for failing to reimpose movement restrictions due to the spread of Omicron, as have other European countries like Portugal or the Netherlands, but he l ‘rejected.
“We are not in March 2020 or Christmas 2020,” Sanchez said, citing the high vaccination rate of the Spanish population compared to the early stages of the pandemic when vaccines were not available.
Wearing a mask indoors was already mandatory in Spain and many Spaniards are also choosing to cover their faces outdoors, although the legal requirement to do so was lifted in June.