Joan Collins THE Ministry for the Environment will this summer distribute 590'000 cardboard ashtrays to stop cigarette butts being thrown onto the beaches. These, together with cotton buds (for cleaning the ears), form the major part of the rubbish collected from Balearic beaches every year. At a press conference, the Balearic Minister for the Environment, Jaume Font, said that the Ministry had begun to deliver some 295'000 ashtrays to all the councils on the coast of the islands. He added that between the middle of July and the beginning of August the rest will be distributed, which will make a total of nearly 600'000. Of these small ashtrays, which are cone shaped and made from recycled and fire resistant cardboard, 180'000 are to go to Majorcan beaches. The beaches of Ibiza and Formentera will receive 95'000 and Minorca's beaches will have 20'000, a ratio which will be maintained for the second delivery in mid Summer. Together with the ashtrays some 120 dispensers will be distributed, each capable of holding 150 or 200 ashtrays. These will be fixed to the lifeguard posts or wherever the local council decides to fix them, on beaches where there are a great many bathers. The ashtrays will be free to beach users, and the number available covers the councils' requests “100 percent”, said Font, who added that with this initiative the Government was helping the local councils, who are responsible for the cleanliness of their beaches. Continuing along these lines, he said that next year the Government will also foot the bill for a similar distribution of ashtrays, which cost the Ministry for the Environment some 62'000 euros this year, although if the councils want more they will have to pay for them. Font said that with this action, which was started as “an experiment” last year, the local Government is encouraging the councils to continue with this type of action to keep the beaches clean. This action complies with the Government's policy of keeping the coast clean, by trying to reduce the thousands of cigarette ends which can be seen in the sand and water of the beaches each Summer. Font added that the distribution of the ashtrays is part of the Balearic Government's plan to maintain the good image of its beaches. To this end, and in addition to the ashtrays, they have started a coastal cleaning operation involving 41 boats and the investment of some 150 million euros to stop the tipping of untreated water into the sea. The delivery of the cardboard ashtrays has already started. On Monday, Ibiza and Formentera took delivery of their allocation, yesterday it was Majorca's turn and tomorrow Minorca's share will be delivered.