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Council stubs out smoking on beach

Bondi Beach, Sydney: Home to 700,000 butts.
Sydney (Australia)
Melbourne (Australia)

SYDNEY, Australia -- Australia's famous beaches could become non-smoking zones following a ground-breaking decision by a Sydney suburban council.

The Manly City Council on Monday banned smoking at popular surfing beaches and other Australian councils look set to follow suit.

The majority council decision applies to all Manly beaches, around sporting grounds and within 10 meters (32 feet) of children's play areas.

The local authority governing Sydney's world-renowned Bondi Beach is also considering a similar move, as are several beachside councils in the southern city of Melbourne.

The Manly decision makes it the first seaside area outside Los Angeles, California to take such a step.

Manly's beaches and retail strip are a popular destination for tourists and Sydney locals alike.

The mayor of Manly, Peter Macdonald, said Monday that the decision "de-normalized" smoking and would have a "subtle educational effect."

But he added that the main reason for the ban was to cut down on litter.

It is estimated that at any one time there are as many as 700,000 cigarette butts on a popular beach such as Bondi.

The beach ban is the next step in an ongoing international crackdown on smoking in public areas.

Earlier this year in Ireland, smoking was banned from all workplaces, including pubs, while New York City passed laws last year making it illegal to light up in restaurants and bars.

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