In a remarkable feat, eight Indian beaches have won the coveted Blue Flag certification which is an international eco-tag certifying clean and environment-friendly beaches and sustainable affiliate operations.
The blue flag certified beaches are considered to be the cleanest beaches in the world. To qualify for this tag, the beaches must meet the 33 strict criteria that include the environment, bathing water quality, safety, services, and accessibility.
The beaches that received this tag are Shivrajpur (Dwarka, Gujarat), Ghogla (Diu), Kasarkod, and Padubiri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden Beach (Puri, Odisha), and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
The union environment minister Prakash Javadekar remarked,” it is an outstanding feat considering that no ‘Blue Flag’ nation has ever been awarded for eight beaches in a single attempt.”
He said, “This is also a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts… India is also the first country in the Asia-Pacific region which has achieved this feat in just about two years’ time.”
The Blue Flag is coordinated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), in Copenhagen, Demark. The Jury, taking the decision on certification, consists of members from the UN Environment Programme, World Tourism Organization, FEE, and IUNC. The Union Ministry sent the list of beaches to the FEE last month seeking certification.
India wishes to expand its achievement by bringing at least 100 beaches under this tag in the next five years. The Environment Ministry in a bid to achieve this goal started its Eco-label BEAMS (Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services) under its already existing Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).
India has also been awarded third place for “International Best Practices” for pollution control in coastal areas. This certification is very important as this can help bring more domestic and international tourists to these places.
India had initially shortlisted 13 beaches for certification of the Blue Flag but five were dropped as they lacked in some aspects. They hope that these beaches will make the cut next year.