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 accorded the blue flag certification for 2 new beaches this year –Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry beaches.
- Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) which accords the globally recognized eco-label – Blue Flag certification, has also given re-certification for 8 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.
- 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.
- In the last 3 years or so, our Ministry have achieved commendable results in environmental management of these 10 beaches and some of them are enumerated below:
- Sand dune restoration and nourishment of 95,000 Sqm (approx.) with native plantation.
- Reduction in marine litter by 85 % and 78% in marine plastic in last 3 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
- 3 years’ database on regular testing of bathing water quality (physical, chemical and biological contamination) and health risk monitoring.
- Approx. 1,25,000 beach goers are educated for responsible behaviour in the beaches
- Increase in footfall for recreation activities by approx. 80% leading to economic development.
- Alternate livelihood opportunities for 500 fishermen families through pollution abatement, safety & services.
About Blue Flag Certification
The Blue Flag certification programme was started in France in 1985 and in areas out of Europe in 2001.
- The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education.
- FEE Denmark conducts regular monitoring & audits for strict compliance with the 33 criteria at all times.
- It is a globally recognised eco-label accorded on the basis of 33 stringent criteria in four major heads which are Environmental education and information, Bathing water quality, environmental management and conservation and safety and services in the beaches.
- It can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator, and serves as an eco-label.
- It is accorded by the international jury composed of eminent members – United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Denmark-based NGO Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- The programme promotes sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas through four main criteria: water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety.
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