Ecological ashtrays have been placed at Larnaca beaches for a second year, after last year’s success, when 98,490 cigarette ends had been collected during the June-September 2017 period, which would otherwise be littering the beaches.
The Larnaca Tourism Board said in a press release that “last year’s results, which emerged from the action of placing ecological ashtrays at ten beaches in Larnaca, were quite encouraging.”
Thus, it was decided that the action continue during this tourist season. Specifically, “during the June-September period last year, 98,490 cigarette ends had been collected, with clear positive effects on the quality of the sand of our beaches,” it says.
This action was an initiative by the Larnaca Tourism Board in cooperation with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, the Larnaca Municipality, and other local authorities of the district, with an aim to upgrade the quality and enhance the competitiveness of Larnaca’s tourist product. Furthermore, it is believed that the initiative also contributed to strengthening environmental awareness.
According to the press release, “this season, the ecological ashtrays have been placed in the beaches of Finikoudes, Kastela, opposite the hotels on Tasos Mitsopoulos avenue, Yiannades of Voroklini, Voroklini beach, the Pervolia Lighthouse, Caretta in Kiti, the CTO beach in Pyla, and opposite the Pyla beach hotels.
The ecological ashtrays were developed by startup FAR, an innovative idea company promoting the upgrading of breaches, which actively supports the vision of UpCycle.Club for creative reusing. “Each stand is made up of a wooden stand with instructions, a hundred biodegradable plastic cones and an attached stainless steel bucket to collect the cigarette ends,” the press release says, adding that “each cone is printed with the Larnaca campaign, in order to maximise the promotion of our destination among visitors, mainly foreigners.”
The smokers can take a cone to use as an ashtray during their stay on the beach. On departure, they will have to empty it into the bucket and replace it on the stand. The cigarette ends are collected at regular intervals, weighed, and at the end of the tourist season are recorded in order to be presented at the annual meeting of the Blue Flag National Judge.
According to official data, “it is estimated that worldwide over five trillion cigarette ends enter the environment every year and the main responsibility lies with the beachgoers.”
The cigarette ends “are inadvertent food for a large part of marine life and are proving to be deadly for marine species.” Specifically, the press release says, contrary to paper and tobacco which are biodegradable, the filter is made up by 95% of synthetic cellulose acetate polymer, a substance which is broken down very slowly and thus burdens the environment for a long period of time.
“A cigarette end can take up to five years to break down in seawater, and at the same time pours poisonous chemicals into the environment, such as cadmium, arsenic and lead. Apart from the pollution of the environment, the cigarette ends are an ugly sight for tourists and locals, and reduces the quality of the destination,” the press release notes.
The Larnaca Tourism Board calls on all Larnaca citizens to first give the good example of protecting their beaches, through the proper use of the ecological ashtrays.