Today, May 31 is international World No Tobacco Day, and to mark the occasion, the Greek island of Serifos has announced the launch of the country’s first smoke-free beach.
The western Cycladic island’s Vagia beach will become smoke-free this summer on the initiative of the A C Laskaridis Charitable Foundation and the Serifos municipality under the foundation’s ongoing Sea Change Greek Islands program, being implemented on 10 Cycladic islands. The terms of the pilot program will be finalised on June 3.
According to the foundation, Greek island beaches polluted mostly by cigarette butts are Sikinos, Amorgos, Koufounissia, Iraklia, Donousa, Schinoussa, Folegandros, Kimolos, and Serifos. In view of the findings, the Laskaridis Charitable Foundation decided to launch the project from Vagia beach – a protected Natura designated beach – where a specially controlled smoking zone will be created complete with ashtrays and eco-friendly awareness-raising messages.
The pilot project, to be carried out by locals, follows similar examples set in Spain and France, with the aim to eliminate smoking along the beach and prevent marine pollution.
“The goal of our efforts to make Vagia the first smoking-free beach in the Cyclades is to raise awareness and to prevent marine pollution at the start.
Unlike other marine waste, cigarette butts are not transported to the coast, they are left there or ‘forgotten’. And we hope that this awareness-raising initiative will help minimize the phenomenon on other islands,” said Angeliki Kosmopoulou, executive director of the A C Laskaridis Charitable Foundation.