Smoking ban on part of Ostend beach this summer


To tackle the enduring problem of cigarette ends in the sand, Ostend has decided to make part of its beach smoke free this summer season

The New Beach

Part of Ostend’s beach will be smoke-free this year in a pilot project launched by the city council. “Het Nieuwe Strand” (The New Beach) is part of a larger ecology initiative backed by the city.

In July and August, the sand that runs between the beach bars Polé Polé and Bondi Beach, will be smoke-free. While fines will not be handed out, a team of workers and signs will remind users of the beach about the ban.

The idea has broad support in the council, announced by mayor Bart Tommelein (Open VLD) and two city councillors representing N-VA and Groen. Beaches on the Flemish coast are dogged by the constant presence of cigarette ends in the sand, especially during the summer months.

The city will provide cigarette receptacles on the promenade and is also planning other summertime initiatives for this stretch of beach, such as recycling bins and drinking fountains. A reusable water bottle will be sold. These initiatives should cut down on plastic waste.

“We are testing the ‘New Beach’ before making the decision whether we will roll it out over the entire beachfront,” said Tommelein. “That will give us the chance to see what it produces and to optimise it.”

Finally, a team of volunteers called Proper Strand Lopers (Clean Beachcombers) will clean up the beach every summer evening between 19.00 and 20.00. Follow the Facebook page to help out.

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA