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Post at: Oct 09 2021

Blue Flag Beaches

Why in News?

  • On 21st September 2021 two more beaches were awarded the Blue Flag Certification. They are Kovalam Beach in Tamil Nadu and Eden Beach in Puducherry.

Blue Flag Beaches in India Status

  • In 11th October 2020, eight Indian beaches were awarded Blue Flag Certificate.
  • In December 2020 eight Indian beaches held virtual and physical flag hoisting ceremony attended by Union Environment, Forest and climate change Minister. Among Asian nations India is the 4th Country after South Korea, Japan and UAE with Blue Flag Beaches.
  • As of 21st September 2021, Ten Beaches in India have been awarded the Blue Flag Certification, namely -
  1.     1. Golden Beach - Odisha
  2.     2. Shivrajpur Beach - Gujarat
  3.     3. Kappad Beach - Kerala
  4.     4. Ghoghla Beach - Diu
  5.     5. Kasarkod Beach - Karnataka
  6.     6. Padubidri Beach - Karnataka
  7.     7. Rushikonda Beach - Andhra Pradesh
  8.     8. Radhanagar Beach - Andaman & Nicobar
  9.     9. Kovalam Beach - Tamil Nadu
  10.     10. Eden Beach - Puducherry

What is Blue Flag Certification?

  • The Blue Flag certification is an international eco-lable tag that is given by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
  • The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world's most recognised 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.
  • FEE regularly monitors and audits for strict compliance with the 33 criteria at all time.
  • The Blue Flag Certificate is awarded annually.
  • An International Jury is formed for selection of Blue Flag Certification.
  • The International Jury comprises members one from-
  1. Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)
  2. United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
  3. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  4. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  5. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

What is Blue Flag Programme?

  • The Blue Flag Programme began in France in 1985 and areas outside Europe in 2001.
  • The Programme recognizes and promotes sustainable development across freshwater and marine water bodies through four main areas - environmental management, water quality, environmental education and safety.

Benefits of Blue Flag Certification

  • A better quality of environment which gives visitors to your beaches, marinas and boats a superior experience thereby increasing their profile.
  • Protection of weal environment from the destabilizing effects of unmanaged practices.
  • An opportunity for the region to capitalise on this reputation for environmental protection and market itself as such destination.
  • A higher standard of environment for local people and the associated health benefits.
  • It also advocates against inequality, disparity depletion of natural resources, health and environmental threats, pollution as well as environmental degradation.

Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS)

  • In September 2020, India has launched India's own eco-label BEAMS under Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.
  • It was launched by Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The objectives of BEAMS programs are to -

    *     Abate pollution in coastal waters
    *     Promote sustainable development of beach facilities

   *     Protect and conserve coastal ecosystem & natural resources.
    *     Maintain high standards of cleanliness 
    *     Maintain hygiene and safety for beach goers in accordance with coastal environment and regulations.

Indian Beaches Journey

  • In 2017-18 a project was initiated as a part of developing model beaches in each coastal state and UT in India.
  • In June, 2018, it was reported that Chandrabhaga beach (Konark coast of Odisha) is not only India's but also Asia's first beach to get the Blue Flag Certification.
  • In 2019, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had identified 13 beaches for the Blue Flag Certification from which 8 were showcased.

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