The Environment Ministry announced that the globally recognized eco-label, ‘Blue Flag Tag’ has been accorded to two more beaches in India, making it a total of 10 on the list.
The label is awarded based on 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.
The two beaches to receive the certification this year is Kovalam in Kerala and Eden in Puducherry, the Ministry said.
The Ministry added that The Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark, which accords the Blue Flag certification, has also given re-certification for eight nominated beaches, which were awarded the Blue Flag certificate last year- Shivrajpur-Gujarat, Ghoghla-Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri-Karnataka, Kappad -Kerala, Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh, Golden-Odisha and Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar.
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav expressed happiness over the new development. He tweeted, “Happy to announce India now has 10 International Blue Flag beaches with the addition of Kovalam & Eden beaches this year and recertification for 8 beaches which got the tag in 2020. Another milestone in our journey towards a clean and green India led by PM Shri @NarendraModi Ji.”
This award is accorded by the international jury composed of eminent members — United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Denmark-based NGO Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The ministry said in a statement: “The Ministry of Environment, in its pursuit of sustainable development of the coastal regions of India, embarked upon a highly acclaimed and flagship program BEAMS, which is one of the initiatives under its integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) approach that the ministry 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.”
“In the last three years or so, our ministry has achieved commendable results in the environmental management of these 10 beaches, which include sand dune restoration and nourishment of 95,000 sqm (approx.) with native plantation; reduction in marine litter by 85 percent and marine plastic by 78 percent in the last three years; scientific and responsible disposal of 750 tonnes of marine litter; improvement in cleanliness level from ‘C’ (poor) to ‘A’ (outstanding) through scientific measurement system,” the statement added.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) undertook a highly acclaimed & flagship program, Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS) which is one of the initiatives under the ICZM approach, as an attempt to achieve sustainable development of coastal regions of India.
“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,” the statement further stated.