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Don’t Throw Your Cigarette Butts on the Floor

Starting today, the 3rd of September, anyone caught throwing their cigarette butt on the floor could be fined between €25 and €250 euros under Law 88/2019 which was introduced a year ago.

Law No. 88/2019 was introduced in order to reduce the impact of cigarette butts, cigars and other cigarette packaging on the environment.  Under the law, cigarette butts, cigars or cigarettes containing tobacco products are now treated as solid urban waste and their ‘disposal in a public space’ is prohibited.

Published on the 3rd of September 2019, the law came into force the following day. However, it provided for a ‘transitional period’ of one year from that date for it to become law to enable municipalities to make the necessary arrangements to facilitate the correct disposal of this form of litter.

According to the law, “commercial establishments, namely, restaurants and bars, and those where recreational activities take place, plus all buildings where smoking is prohibited, must have ashtrays and the proper equipment for the disposal of undifferentiated and selective waste produced by its customers. These comprise receptacles with tilting lids or other devices that prevent the spread of waste in a public space.” Such establishments are also in charge of cleaning the waste produced in their commercial spaces and a five metre radius outside their premises.

In addition to fines of between 25 to 250 euros for those who throw butts to the ground, the law also determines that it constitutes an offense punishable by a minimum fine of €250 euros and a maximum of €1,500 euros if commercial establishments, companies that manage public transport, municipalities, concessionaires of public transport stopping places, higher education institutions, hotels and local accommodation do not place ashtrays or remove accumulated waste.

Furthermore, the new law adds that the Government should create, within 180 days from the entry into force of the law, an incentive system, within the scope of the Environmental Fund, and promote consumer awareness campaigns for the responsible disposal of tobacco waste, in particular, cigarette butts, cigars or other parts of cigarettes.

With regard to tobacco companies, the new law states that they should promote the use of biodegradable materials in the manufacture of tobacco filters.

All inspections will be carried out by Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) employees, city councils, Municipal Police, Republican National Guard, Public Security Police, Maritime Police and other competent authorities.

The instruction of the processes and the application of fines for those who do not comply are the responsibility of the ASAE and the respective city council. All monies raised will be distributed by the State (50%), the assessing entity (20%) and the entity that instructed the process (30% ).

Samantha Gannon

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