Italy's news in English

Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

Ban smoking on Italian beaches: consumer watchdog

Share this article

Ban smoking on Italian beaches: consumer watchdog
Cigarette butts are the most common litter on beaches around the world. Photo: DepositPhotos
13:17 CEST+02:00
Should smoking be banned on Italy's beaches? A consumer rights group is preparing to launch a legal battle to demand just that.

Consumer watchdog Codacons wants local authorities across Italy to introduce legislation forbidding smoking along its 7,800 kilometres of coastline, and warns that it is prepared to take them to court if they don't.

While some communities have already done so, "not enough has yet been done to protect bathers from the health risks of smoking and preserve the environment", the group said in a press release.

READ ALSO: What is Italy doing about the shocking level of plastic pollution on its coastline?

If local authorities don't act urgently to ban smoking and the dumping of cigarette butts as Italy's famed beaches gear up for their busiest months of the year, Codacons warned it would pursue charges against them of pollution and damage to Italy's natural heritage.

Several towns have already introduced fines for smoking on their beaches, including Bibione on the Venetian coast, one of Italy's most visited seaside resorts, which became the first beach to go smoke-free in 2014.


Bibione first began trialling its no-smoking zone in 2011. Photo: AFP

Other towns to follow suit include Savona in Liguria, Sassari in Sardinia, Lampedusa in Sicily, Porto Cesareo in Puglia, and Anzio and Ladispoli on the Lazio coast south of Rome, where beachgoers caught smoking or leaving butts can face fines of between €25 to €100.

While several other communities are debating similar legislation, Codacons says that the piecemeal approach creates confusion and undermines the effectiveness of local bans if smokers can simply walk to a neighbouring beach to light up.

As well as the immediate health risk to smokers and those around them, smoking is also a major source of coastline pollution.

READ ALSO: 

Cigarette butts are consistently the single most common type of litter on the world's beaches, according to conservationists involved in clean-up operations, whether dumped directly on the sand or washed into the ocean from drains and rivers. Most butts contain plastic filters that can take more than a decade to break down, as well as residual chemicals used to treat tobacco.

Authorities should take the issue as seriously as they take plastic pollution, Codacons says, pointing to the examples of Italian beaches that have banned single-use plastic bags and picnicware in recent years.

 
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.

From our sponsors

Five ways expats can benefit from international health insurance

Moving abroad is a massive upheaval, physically and emotionally. Knowing your health is covered no matter where you are and whatever happens can be a huge weight off your shoulders.