Smokers beware. Hanauma Bay, a spectacular turquoise crescent carved into the southeastern shore of Oahu, has become the first beach in Hawaii--if not the world--to ban smoking.
The move is the latest in a campaign to rescue the marine preserve, with its colorful reef fish, from the impact of hordes of humans. One of the state's top visitor destinations, Hanauma Bay Nature Park once attracted as many as 3 million people a year.
In 1990, city officials cut the flow of people to the overcrowded beach in half by preventing tour buses from dropping passengers at Hanauma. Now, concerned that cigarette butts washing into the water might pose a threat to fish and turtles, they have restricted smoking to the parking lot overlooking the bay.
"Before the ordinance, this place looked like an ashtray," said Council member John Henry Felix, author of the no-smoking bill. "So many people put their cigarettes out in the sand. Now, it looks rather pristine."