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Blue Flag Beaches in India: In a first, 8 Indian beaches get prestigious Blue Flag Certification

India has also been awarded the third prize by the by the International Jury for pollution control in coastal regions under the “International Best Practices."

Oct 12, 2020 13:08 IST
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Blue Flag Beaches in India: In a first, eight Indian beaches have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag certification. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar shared the news through a post on Twitter on October 11, 2020.

The Union Minister tweeted saying that it is a proud moment for India, as all 8 beaches recommended by the Indian government have been given the coveted International Blue Flag Certification. 

The Union Minister further stated that the Blue Flag certification was accorded to India's 8 beaches, , spread across five states and two union territories, by an international jury comprising eminent members including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). 

The Minister stated that the blue flag certification of Indian beaches is also a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.

Following are the eight beaches that have received Blue Flag Certification in India:

Blue Flag Beaches in India

Beach Name

State/ UT

Shivrajpur Dwarka-Gujarat
Ghoghla Diu
Kasarkod Karnataka
Padubidri Karnataka
Kappad Kerala
Rushikonda Andhra Pradesh
Golden Beach/ Puri Beach Odisha
Radhanagar Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Key Highlights 

• India is the first nation to have been awarded Blue Flag certification for all the 8 recommended beaches in a single attempt.

• India has also been awarded the third prize by the International Jury for pollution control in coastal regions under the “International Best Practices."

• India is also the first nation in the "Asia-Pacific” region that has achieved this feat in just about 2 years.

• Besides India, Japan, South Korea and UAE are the only other Asian nations to have been conferred with Blue Flag beach certification for a couple of beaches. However, the countries were accorded with the honour in a time frame of about 5 to 6 years. 

• With the Blue Flag Certification, India has now entered the league of 50 "BLUE FLAG” countries.

Other Details

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar shared that India now plans to work towards getting Blue Flag certification for 100 such beaches in the country in the next five years. India began the development of pilot beaches, one each in coastal states/UTs in 2018 and presented the first set of 8 beaches for the Blue Flag certification for the ensuing tourist season 2020.

What is Blue Flag Certification?

The Blue Flag certification is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a non-profit non-governmental organisation. The coveted certification is conferred when a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator meets the set standards. FEE comprises 65 organisations in 60 member countries.

What is the criteria to get Blue Flag Certification?

The criteria for Blue Flag Certification include standards for safety, quality, environmental education and information along with the provision of services and general environmental management criteria. The Blue Flag certification is accorded to beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators. The certification indicates their high environmental and quality standards.

Which nation has the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches?

Spain with 578 Blue Flag Beaches has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the world, followed by Turkey that has 436 Blue Flag Beaches. Greece stands third with 395 Blue Flag Beaches, closely followed by France that has 394 Blue Flag beaches and then Italy that has 342 Blue Flag Beaches. 

Blue Flag Programme: Background

The Blue Flag concept was first adopted as a pilot scheme in France in 1985 when French coastal municipalities were awarded the Blue Flag based on criteria of covering sewage treatment and bathing water quality. 

In 1987, the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE) presented the concept of the Blue Flag to the European Commission and then it was agreed to launch the Blue Flag Programme as one of the Commission's several "European Year of the Environment" activities in the Community that year

The French concept of the Blue Flag was further expanded to include other areas of environmental management such as waste management and coastal planning and protection. Beaches and marinas also became eligible for the Blue Flag under the programme.

• In 2001, FEEE rules were changed to permit non-European national organisations, which share the objectives of FEEE, to become members of the foundation. This led the foundation to drop Europe from its name, becoming the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

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