SMOKING is now banned on the main beach in Gandia (La Safor, Valencia).
The local council announced the restriction on Nord beach today (Tuesday March 23) based on grounds of public health, hygiene, environmental concerns and COVID-19 prevention.
According to town hall spokespeople, the prohibition will come into force this summer, meaning that the thousands of visitors who gather on the sand every year will have to refrain from lighting up.
As a compromise, the council will allow smokers to use the terraces of the chiringuito beach bars and the areas reserved for the portable toilets, where ashtrays and bins will be fitted to avoid cigarette butts from littering the beach.
Gandia was already studying the possibility of banning smoking on the town’s beaches last year, but refrained from doing so out of concern that it could have a negative impact on tourism.
However, the council has now changed its mind after seeing how the measure has not affected visitor numbers in other coastal areas that have enforced the ban, even boosting their quality and prestige.
The municipal cleaning services collect thousands of cigarette ends every day from Gandia’s beaches in the summer.
Each discarded butt is said to potentially pollute thousands of litres of seawater, leading to severe damage to marine life.
As if more reasons were needed, it has been established that passive smoking can spread COVID, as well as tobacco quickly becoming public enemy number one for the health authorities.
The council has not yet issued information on possible fines for those caught sparking up on the sand.