02 new Indian beaches receive Blue Flag certification
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 to two new beaches – Minicoy Thundi Beach and Kadmat Beach- both in Lakshadweep.
- This takes the number of beaches certified under the Blue Flag certification to twelve (12).
About Minicoy Thundi Beach and Kadmat Beach
- The Thundi Beach is one of the most pristine and picturesque beaches in the Lakshadweep archipelago where white sand is lined by turquoise blue water of the lagoon.
- It is a paradise for swimmers and tourists alike.
- The Kadmat Beach is especially popular with cruise tourists who visit the island for water sports.
- It is a paradise for nature lovers with its pearl white sand, blue lagoon waters, its moderate climate and friendly locals.
- Both the beaches have designated staff for beach cleanliness and maintenance; and for safety and security of swimmers.
- Both the beaches comply with all the 33 criteria as mandated by the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE).
Back to Basics
Blue Flag Certification Beaches in India
- The other Indian beaches in the blue list are Shivrajpur-Gujarat, Ghoghla-Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri-Karnataka, Kappad-Kerala, Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh, Golden-Odisha, Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar, Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry beaches.
Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark
- The Blue Flag programme is run by the Copenhagen, Denmark-headquartered Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a nonprofit which, through its work, contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
- In order to qualify for this prestigious award, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained.
- The mission of Blue Flag is to promote sustainability in the tourism sector, through environmental education, environmental protection and other sustainable development practices.
- The Blue Flag programme started in 1987, initially in Europe. Certification is awarded annually. A total 5,042 beaches, marinas, and tourism boats in 48 countries have been awarded the label so far. A marina is a small harbour where mainly pleasure boats and yachts dock.
- The certification is given by an international jury comprising members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), besides FEE.
Do’s and Don’ts
- In January 2020, an Extraordinary Gazette Notification gave a list of permissible activities and facilities in the CRZ of the beaches, including islands, subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL), for the purposes of Blue Flag certification.
- These included portable toilet blocks, change rooms and shower panels; solid waste management plant; solar power plant; purified drinking water facility; beach access pathways; landscaping lighting; seating benches and sit-out umbrellas; cloak room facility; safety watch towers and beach safety equipment; information boards and other signages; fencing; and parking facilities.
- The notification said that these activities and facilities would be exempt from prior clearance under the provisions of CRZ Notification, Island Protection Zone Notification and Island Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications.
- 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 for achieving the globally recognized and the coveted International eco-label “Blue Flag” , accorded by 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.
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