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  • 22 September, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

India now has 10 Blue Flag beaches

India now has 10 Blue Flag beaches

In yet another recognition of India’s commitment to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources the globally recognized and the coveted International eco-label "Blue Flag”, has been accorded the Blue Flag Certification for 2 new beaches this year –Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry beaches.

What are Blue Flag beaches?

  • Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by "Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark" based on 33 stringent criteria.
  • Blue Flag for Beach Cleanup started in 1985 with the objective to enhance standards of cleanliness, upkeep & basic amenities at beaches.
  • Each state and UT will nominate a beach to be funded by Integrated Coastal Management Programme.
  • They must comply with 33 conditions related to Environment and Tourism.
  • Spain tops the list followed by Greece, France. Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and SE Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
  • Asia's 1st certificate went to Odisha - Chandrabhaga Beach.
  • 12 beaches were considered: Shivrajpur (GJ); Bhogave (MH); Ghoghla (Diu); Miramar (Goa); Kasargod and Padubidri (Karnataka); Kappad (Kerala); Eden (Puducherry); Mahabalipuram (TN); Rushikonda (AP); Golden (Odisha) and Radhanagar (A&N).

  • Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) which accords the globally recognized eco-label - Blue Flag certification, has also given re-certification for 8 nominated beaches Shivrajpur-Gujarat, Ghoghla-Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri-Karnataka, Kappad-Kerala, Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh, Golden-Odisha and Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar, which were awarded the Blue Flag certificate last year.

Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS)

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS) which is one of the initiatives under ICZM approach that the MoEF&CC has undertaken for the sustainable development of coastal regions of India, with a prime objective to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources.
  • This was aimed at achieving the globally recognized and coveted International eco-label "Blue Flag” , accorded by the International Jury comprising of members from IUCN, UNWTO,UNEP, UNESCO etc.
  • FEE Denmark conduct regular monitoring & audits for strict compliance of the 33 criteria at all times.
  • A waving “Blue Flag” is an indication of 100% compliance to these 33 stringent criteria and sound health of the beach.
  • The objective of BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations.

In the last 3 years or so, our Ministry have achieved commendable results in environmental management of these 10 beaches and some of them are enumerated below:

  • Sand dune restoration and nourishment of 95,000 Sqm (approx.) with native plantation.
  • Reduction in marine litter by 85 % and 78% in marine plastic in last 3 years.
  • Scientific & responsible disposal of 750 tonnes of marine litter.
  • Improvement in cleanliness level from “C” (poor) to “A++(outstanding) through scientific measurement system
  • Saving of 1100 ML/year of municipal water through recycling
  • 3 years’ database on regular testing of bathing water quality (physical, chemical and biological contamination) and health risk monitoring.
  • Approx. 1,25,000 beach goers are educated for responsible behaviour in the beaches
  • Increase in footfall for recreation activities by approx. 80% leading to economic development.
  • Alternate livelihood opportunities for 500 fishermen families through pollution abatement, safety & services.

CRZ rules eased for Blue Flag beaches

  • Blue Flag beach certification is accorded by Denmark based Foundation for Environment Eduation. It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987 and in areas outside Europe since 2001 when South Africa joined.
  • It has 33 stringent criteria under 4 major heads –
  1. Environment Education and Information.
  2. Bathing Water Quality
  3. Environment Management and Conservation and
  4. Safety and Services.
  • This beach is an eco tourism model and marks out beaches as providing tourists and beachgoers - clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities, a safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of that area. It requires beaches to create certain infrastructure like portable toilet blocks, grey water treatment plants, solar power plant, seating facilities, CCTV surveillance.
  • Now CRZ rules are eased for Blue Flag beaches. Activities are permitted in CRZ including Islands, subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 m from the High Tide Line. States can construct infrastructure to enable International recognition. It is based on Cleanliness, and Environment propriety.

Source: PIB

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