Port Eynon has become Swansea’s third beach to join the Smoke-free Beaches campaign, an initiative which seeks to limit the harms of cigarette waste on local wildlife and the environment.
As from April this year, visitors to the beach will be encouraged to not smoke via a voluntary no-smoking initiative, which will be signposted at the beach’s main entry points. The voluntary change will seek to reduce cigarette litter, in a bid to protect the coastline for future generations to come.
On a global scale 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded each year, making cigarette butts one of the most littered items on earth.
Cigarette butts take up to 12 years to breakdown and as they do they leach nicotine and heavy metals before turning into microplastic pollution. In addition, studies examining the toxicity of cigarette butts have found them to contain approximately 4000 harmful chemicals, which can ultimately seep into the environment.
Research has shown that one cigarette butt left to soak in water for 96 hours will release enough toxins to kill half of the salt and freshwater fish that are exposed to it.
Cigarette butts remain a big problem in Wales, with the latest Marine Conservation Society survey revealing that Welsh beaches held the highest amount of cigarette butt litter in Great Britain in 2021. The survey found an average of 64.2 cigarette butts per 100 metres of Welsh beach in 2021, a stark rise from 9.5 in 2020 ,and 32.6 in 2019.
The new Smoke-free initiative has been spearheaded by tobacco control organisation ASH Wales, a charity which raises awareness on the harms of tobacco in Wales. The charity has worked closely with Swansea Council, who have shown support for the green initiative.
ASH Wales CEO Suzanne Cass has praised the Council for its proactive approach to the environment.
She said: “We are delighted that Swansea Council have taken proactive steps in protecting the coastline, which will aid wider efforts to create a greener and more sustainable Wales.
“The smoke-free initiative will encourage visitors to think about how cigarette waste can affect the environment, and the wildlife that call the coastline home. I would encourage other councils across Wales to consider how they too can make a difference”.
Beyond environmental benefits, research has shown that smoke-free spaces can reduce exposure to second-hand smoke, and can have a positive influence on social norms. In light of this, ASH Wales believe that the smoke-free initiative will create an environment that is safer and ultimately cleaner for visitors.
Last year, ASH Wales conducted a survey to measure local public opinion on the smoke-free initiative. The survey revealed that 92% of participants were supportive of Port Eynon becoming Smoke-free, when told of the environmental benefits this would hold. In addition, 96% of all the survey’s respondents agreed that cigarette waste negatively impacts sea life and the environment.
Anne Ellsmore, owner of the local business The Seafarer, praised the move and said: “Any initiative to limit the amount of cigarette litter our beach is a good thing, and will make it a nicer place to visit for tourists and locals alike”.
To date, Langland Bay, Caswell Bay and Little Haven in Pembrokeshire have joined ASH Wales’ Smoke-free Beach campaign. It is thought that the addition of Port Eynon, one of the Gower peninsula’s most popular sites, will encourage other beach authorities to take similar green steps.
A spokesperson from Swansea Council said: “The Council fully supports initiatives to protect the coastline for residents, visitors and for future generations to come.
“We hope the voluntary initiative will encourage visitors to take the small steps needed to make a big difference in protecting our environment”.
On a national scale, the Welsh Government has recently committed to reducing the environmental impact of smoking. The commitment was recently relayed in the new Tobacco Control Strategy for Wales, which aims to create a healthier smoke-free nation by 2030.
Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, is overseeing the new strategy, and marked the importance of limiting the harmful effects smoking.
She said: “It is vital that we recognise that smoking not only impacts our health, but can also impact our surroundings.
“I fully endorse any body of work which highlights the environmental harms of cigarettes, and takes steps to limit these harms”.
(Lead image: Geograph)
Miss Wales calls on communities across Wales to give someone ‘the best gift’ this Christmas after receiving lifesaving blood transfusions
Duff bemoans Swans lack of cutting edge after draw with Huddersfield
Booth proud of young Ospreys despite late Benetton defeat
Patino late strike earns point for battling Swans
Festive craft fair raises money to help fight lung disease
Edwards potential can lead to bright Wales career believes Fussell
Tempo the key for Duff as Swans prepare to face Huddersfield
New project to bring empty shop units back into use
Mount Pleasant shoplifter jailed after assaulting security guard
Wholesale changes for Ospreys for Benetton clash
Popular Swansea pub set for grand re-opening after £279,000 makeover
New light being shone on popular seafront promenade
Funding boost for Mumbles women’s fashion shop
Specsavers to invest more than £400,000 in new Mumbles store
Aldi Fforestfach celebrates grand opening with help from Paralympian
Castle Square transformation takes new step
Plans submitted for sustainable aviation fuel plant in Port Talbot
Free buses returning to Swansea for the festive period
Will Pepper’s Christmas wish come true after 800 days waiting for a home?
Record medal haul for Welsh Martial Arts competitors at World Championships
Money4 days ago
Morriston receives banking hub following community request
South Wales Police5 days ago
Three arrests after Mount Pleasant home attacked with ‘weapons’
Carmarthen5 days ago
Council agrees sale of sprawling former asylum in Carmarthen
Bridgend6 days ago
Independent pharmacy chain pick up former Lloyds pharmacy branches
Neath5 days ago
New look for Victoria Gardens children’s play area is completed
Business4 days ago
Revamped H Samuel shop shines bright in Swansea’s Quadrant Shopping Centre
Rugby5 days ago
An evening of entertainment with Dan Biggar coming to Swansea
Business2 days ago
New project to bring empty shop units back into use