Marikes Beach, which is located outside of Athens in Attica, will be the region’s first smoke-free beach.
In a country known for its large number of smokers, it is not surprising that cigarette butts make up an estimated 40 to 60 percent of waste left on beaches in Greece.
The smoke-free beach at Marikes, located in Rafina outside of Athens, will be free of cigarette-related waste.
The popular beach, which is often crowded with swimmers, sunbathers, and people partaking in waters ports, is set to ban smoking as part of the “Small Acts, Big Crimes” environmental initiative.
The movement has taken storm across Attica, the region which is home to the capital of Athens and is set at reducing waste produced by smoking cigarettes.
In general, Rafina as a whole has begun moving toward reducing cigarette waste. In 2021, the town adopted a program called “Aegean Rebreath,” which helped protect the natural environment from pollution by reducing smoking-related waste.
The movement included placing special bins for cigarette butts across Rafina and along many beaches.
While Marikes will be the first smoke-free beach in Attica, it is not the first beach in all of Greece to ban smoking. In 2019, two beaches on the island of Serifos, Vagia Beach and Megalo Livadi, banned smoking.
Additionally, the entire island of Astypalea declared itself a smoke-free island during that same year.
Smoking is widespread in Greece, but recently, Greeks have begun to quit more and more.
Smoking was reduced by 52.4 percent overall over the last ten years in Greece, according to ELSTAT data, and crucial gains were made in the fourteen to sixteen year old demographic.
As of September, 2019, 24.9 percent of adults in Greece reported that they smoked more than one cigarette per day. Almost four percent, or 3.7 percent, reported that they were “occasional” smokers, who smoked less than seven cigarettes per week.
Greece Second in the World in Number of Blue Flag Beaches
A total of 581 beaches in Greece were awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award for 2022, putting the country in second place among 49 countries, according to data released on Monday by the Greek section of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
The Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece, renowned for its golden sand and turquoise waters, received most of the awards, earning 96 blue flags for its beaches. Attica, Crete, and Rhodes follow.
A map with all the locations in Greece and elsewhere awarded the Blue Flag award this year is available at www.blueflag.global.
The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. In order to qualify for the blue flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.