12 Indian beaches in race to top Blue Flag Challenge
Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has selected 12 beaches across the country to compete for Blue Flag Certification. Environment Ministry embarked on Blue Flag project in December 2017.
12 Beaches Selected are: Bhogave (Maharashtra), Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Miramar (Goa), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha), Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands), Kappad (Kerala) and Eden (Puducherry).
These 12 beaches are being developed by Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), in accordance with Blue Flag standards. SICOM is an Environment Ministry’s body working for management of coastal areas.
About Blue Flag Programme
It is international recognition conferred on beaches and marinas that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety and equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists.
It is run by international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
It was first started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987.
Since 2001 it has been implemented in areas outside Europe when South Africa joined.
Criteria: There are almost 33 criteria that must be met by beaches and marinas to qualify for Blue Flag certification. It includes water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, first aid equipment, disabled- friendly and no access to pets in main areas of beach. Some of these criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
Validation: If approved, beaches are given blue flag tag for a year and they must apply annually to continue meriting right to fly this flag at their locations.
Top countries: Spain (total blue flags: 684), France (492) and Turkey (458). Japan and South Korea are only countries from South/southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
Asia’s First: Chandrabhaga beach on Konark coast in Odisha was first in Asia to get Blue Flag certification (awarded in June 2019).
Categories: Environment Current Affairs