Two more beaches in India get blue flag status - GulfToday

Two more beaches in India get blue flag status

Meena Janardhan

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.

Beach-India

Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

Two more beaches in India have been accorded the coveted international eco-label ‘Blue Flag’ — Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry — taking the total number of such beaches in the country to 10, the Indian Environment Ministry said last week.

The two beaches to receive the certification this year are Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry, the ministry statement added.

The Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) which accords the globally recognised eco-label — Blue Flag certification, has also given re-certification for eight 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.

These eight beaches got the Blue Flag certification on October 6 last year.

‘Happy to announce India now has 10 International Blue Flag beaches with the addition of Kovalam and Eden beaches this year and recertification for 8 beaches which got the tag in 2020. Another milestone in our journey towards a clean and green India…,” Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav tweeted.

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 and flagship program Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS), which is one of the initiatives under the integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) approach that the Ministry 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.

The Ministry is further committed to develop and deliver 100 more beaches under its ICZM initiative in the ensuing 5 years of the Ministry’s vision agenda, the ministry said.

FEE Denmark conducts regular monitoring and audits for strict compliance of the 33 criteria at all times. A waving “Blue Flag” is an indication of 100 per cent compliance to these 33 stringent criteria and sound health of the beach, the release said.

The objective of BEAMS programme is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect and conserve coastal ecosystems and natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities and stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene, and safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment and regulations.

“In the last three years or so, our Ministry has achieved commendable results in environmental management of these 10 beaches,” the release said, and listed some of the efforts: sand dune restoration and nourishment of 95,000 sq. m (approx.) with native plantation, reduction in marine litter by 85 per cent and 78 per cent in marine plastic in last three 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, three years’ database on regular testing of bathing water quality (physical, chemical and biological contamination) and health risk monitoring.

The other efforts included educating approximately 125,000 beach goers for responsible behaviour at the beaches, increase in footfall for recreation activities by approx. 80 per cent leading to economic development and alternate livelihood opportunities for 500 fishermen families through pollution abatement, safety and services. The Ministry is further committed to develop and deliver 100 more beaches under its ICZM initiative in the ensuing five years of its vision agenda, the release said.

The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.

Central to the ideals of the Blue Flag programme is the aim of connecting the public with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment. As such, environmental education activities must be offered and promoted in addition to a permanent display of information relevant to the site in terms of biodiversity, ecosystems and environmental phenomena.

The mission of Blue Flag is to promote sustainability in the tourism sector, through environmental education, environmental protection and other sustainable development practices. More than 4500 beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats are concretely contributing to the sustainable development goals. Blue Flag also campaigns against disparity, inequality, unemployment, health threats, depletion of natural resources, environmental threats, pollution and general environmental degradation.


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