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Blue Flag beaches

Blue Flag beaches

Why in news?

  • Odisha government’s plan to get Blue Flag certification for five beaches hit a roadblock as the local fishermen opposed the move.
  • Several fishermen staged a protest in Ganjam district demanding an alternative sea mouth to anchor their boats before being removed from the beaches.

What is a Blue Flag Beach?

  • The ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an ‘eco-tourism model’ and marks out beaches as providing tourists and beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment, and sustainable development of the area.
  • The certification is accorded by the Denmark-based Foundation for Environment Education.
  • It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001 when South Africa joined.
  • It has 33 stringent criteria under four major heads for the beaches, that is, (i) Environmental Education and Information (ii) Bathing Water Quality (iii) Environment Management and Conservation and (iv) Safety and Services.
  • Spain tops the list with 566 such beaches; Greece and France follow with 515 and 395 Blue Flag beaches, respectively.
  • Japan and South Korea are the only countries in the south and southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.

Blue flag beaches in India

  • In Dec 2020, eight Indian beaches held virtual and physical flag hoisting (‘Blue Flag’) ceremony attended by Union Environment Minister, State Ministers and officials. Among Asian nations, India is now the 4th country after South Korea, Japan and UAE with ‘blue flag beaches’.
  • In Oct 2020, Eight Beaches in India were awarded the prestigious certification, namely:
    • Golden Beach – Odisha
    • Shivrajpur Beach – Gujarat
    • Kappad Beach – Kerala
    • Ghoghla Beach – Diu
    • Radhanagar Beach – Andaman and Nicobar
    • Kasarkod Beach – Karnataka
    • Padubidri Beach – Karanataka
    • Rushikonda Beach – Andhra Pradesh

BEAMS

  • India has launched India’s own eco-label BEAMS (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project.
  • This is launched by the Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The objectives of BEAMS program is to:
    • Abate pollution in coastal waters,
    • Promote sustainable development of beach facilities,
    • Protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources,
    • Strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness,

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