The news of 8 Indian beaches getting the prestigious Blue Flag Certification started to make rounds recently. Well did you know that by getting honored with this certification, India has also created a kind of record? Let us get more details into this and understand what is Blue Flag certification and why it is a big deal for India.
What is a Blue Flag certification?
The Blue Flag is a certification obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator. It also serves as an eco-label and is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The certification started in France in 1985 and it expanded across the world by 2001.
The award is given to the beaches and marinas in FEE member countries that follow the stringent environmental, educational, safety-related, and access-related criteria set by the foundation. In simpler words, a Blue Flag beach is where the tourists can be assured of clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities, and a safe and healthy environment.
The program aims at promoting sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas. There are four main criteria that are followed to choose the winner – water quality, environmental management, environmental education, and safety.
Around 47 countries participate in the program, and the certification has been handed out to about 4,573 beaches, marinas, and boats, so far.
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Beaches in India that Got the Blue Flag Certification:
The coveted Blue Flag certification was awarded to 8 Indian beaches, namely, Kappad in Kerala, Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Diu, Kasarkod, and Padubidri in Karnataka, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden in Odisha, and Radhanagar in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. An eminent international jury comprising members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) chose India’s 8 beaches for the certification in the year 2020.
It is to be noted that earlier in 2020, the Centre Government of India issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification that declared a list of activities and facilities that are permissible in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas of the beaches identified for obtaining the Blue Flag certification.
What Can Tourists Expect on the 8 Blue Flag Certified Beaches in India?
Tourists are assured of getting the following experiences on the Blue Flag certified beaches in India:
- Portable toilet blocks, change rooms, and shower panels
- Purified drinking water facility
- Beach access pathways
- Landscaping lighting
- Seating benches and sit-out umbrellas
- Outdoor play / fitness equipment
- CCTV surveillance and control room
- First aid station
- Cloakroom facility
- Safety watch towers and beach safety equipment
- Beach layout, environment information boards, and other signages
- Parking facilities
- Other associated facilities or infrastructure, as per requirements of Blue Flag Certification
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Why is it a Big Deal For India?
According to the Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India, there is no ‘Blue Flag’ nation which has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt. This gives India a special place and turns the global eyes towards the country’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.
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