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Councillors in Benidorm, have launched a campaign encouraging beachgoers to dispose of their cigarette butts in an environmentally friendly manner.

The campaign, with a tagline saying, ‘The beach is not an ashtray’, was launched earlier this week by the Beaches and Environment councillor, Monica Gomez, who stressed that to achieve this goal it is “absolutely essential” that the public collaborate, “especially, the people who generate this type of waste.”

More than 20,000, free, re-useable ashtrays have been distributed in beach libraries, first aid points, sun bed stations, tourist information centres and public areas, with the aim of preventing smokers stubbing out their cigarettes in the sand.

“A cigarette butt takes ten to 15 years to disappear and can contaminate ten litres of seawater, in addition to causing damage to birds and fish,” explained councillor Lopez, as once they become hidden in the sand, they are “very difficult to detect and remove completely, despite the thorough cleaning undertaken daily on the resort’s beaches.”

The campaign also includes the distribution of 20,000 flyers in Spanish, Valencian, English and French to raise awareness of the environmental damage caused by the abandonment of this waste on our beaches.

A wider initiative, entitled, ‘Don’t forget your’ rubbish, was launched earlier in the Summer, featuring an installation in Parqued’Elche, depicting large scale replicas of items beach users leave behind on the sand, including plastic straws, bottle caps, plastic containers, tetra packs and wooden ice cream sticks.

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