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Blue Flag certification

Blue Flag certification

Context:

India becomes first nation to be awarded Blue Flag certification for 8 beaches in a single attempt.

Key Points:

  • India is the first nation to have been awarded Blue Flag certification for all the 8 recommended beaches in a single attempt.
  • Blue Flag certification has been awarded to eight beaches spread across five states and two union territories by an international jury comprising of eminent members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Denmark-based NGO Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Eight of India’s beaches got the eco-label of Blue Flag in a row are:
    • Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat)
    • Ghoghla (Diu)
    • Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka)
    • Kappad (Kerala)
    • Rushikonda (AP)
    • Golden Beach (Odisha)
    • Radhanagar (A&N Islands)
  • India has also been awarded the third prize by the International Jury for pollution control in coastal regions under the “International Best Practices."
  • While Japan, South Korea and UAE have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches in a time frame of about 5 to 6 years, India is the first country in “Asia-Pacific” region which has achieved this feat in just about 2 years’ time.
  • With the Blue Flag Certification, India has now entered the league of 50 "BLUE FLAG” countries.

Blue Flag Certification:

  • The Blue Flag concept was first adopted as a pilot scheme in France in 1985 when French coastal municipalities were awarded the Blue Flag based on criteria of covering sewage treatment and bathing water quality.
  • Operated by Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), Denmark, Blue Flag is an iconic voluntary award for beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators which is awarded to those that meet and maintain the criterias of a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility.FEE comprises 65 organisations in 60 member countries.

Criteria:

  • The Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world.
    The Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by "Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark" based on 33 stringent criteria under four major heads:
    • Environmental education and information,
    • Bathing water quality,
    • Environment management and conservation
    • Safety and services at the beaches.

Country with highest number of Blue Flag Beaches:

  • Over 4600 beaches, marinas and boats from around 50 countries have, so far, got the Blue Flag certification.
  • Spain with 578 Blue Flag Beaches has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the world, followed by Turkey that has 436 Blue Flag Beaches.
  • Greece stands third with 395 Blue Flag Beaches, closely followed by France that has 394 Blue Flag beaches and then Italy that has 342 Blue Flag Beaches.

Background:

  • In order to achieve this goal, the Environment Ministry had last month launched India’s own eco-label ‘BEAMS’ (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project.
  • As part of its pilot projects to embark on Blue Flag certification programme, India had initially identified 13 beaches which include Bhogave (Maharashtra), Kovalam (TamilNadu), Eden (Puducherry), Miramar (Goa) and Bangaram (Lakshadweep). But names of these five were subsequently dropped at the recommendation stage as Indian experts found one or the other relevant qualifying parameters missing at these beaches.

BEAMS:

  • India has launched its own eco-label BEAMS (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project.
  • This program promotes beach recreation in absolute harmony with nature.
  • Objectives:
    • To Abate pollution in coastal waters
    • To promote sustainable development of beach facilities
    • To Protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources
    • To Strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness
    • To Hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project:

  • The concept of ICZM was introduced in 1992 during the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro and most of the coastal countries in the world have been adopting ICZM principles for managing their coastal zones.
  • It is a process for the management of the coast using an integrated approach, regarding all aspects of the coastal zone, including geographical and political boundaries, in an attempt to achieve sustainability.

Source: PIB