Kovalam and Eden beaches in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have joined the list of Indian beaches with the famous Blue Flag certification, that is accorded by Denmark-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest in the world.
Ten beaches in India now have the tag, and the Kovalam and Eden beaches are the first in the state and Union Territory to get the certificate.
A Blue Flag beach is an eco-tourism model endeavouring to provide tourists/beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities, a safe and healthy environment and sustainable development. For a beach to get the Blue Flag, it must fulfil 33 stringent criteria, relating to environment, bathing water quality, educational safety, services and accessibility standards. The certificate appreciates clean, safe and environment-friendly beaches and marinas.
Odisha’s Golden Beach got the blue tag last year. Other Indian beaches with the flag are Shivrajpur (Dwarka, Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Kappad (Kerala), Padubidri (Karnataka), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh) and Radhanagar (Andaman and Nicobar Islands). These eight were awarded the certification on October 6, 2020.
India started its journey of sustainable development of coastal regions on World Environment Day in June 2018 with the launch of a beach-cleaning campaign – I Am Saving My Beach – simultaneously in 13 coastal states, and with the implementation of the central government programme Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS).
“The Ministry of Environment, in its pursuit of sustainable development of the coastal regions of India, embarked upon a highly acclaimed and flagship programme BEAMS, which is one of the initiatives under the integrated coastal zone management approach that the ministry has undertaken for the sustainable development of coastal regions of India, with the prime objective to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of resources,” the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier this month, during the environment debate in the Assembly, Tamil Nadu environment minister V Meyyanathan said the state plans to spend Rs 100 crore over the next five years to get the Blue Flag certification for its beaches, in an attempt to woo international tourists and add Tamil Nadu beaches to the international tourism map.
The Blue Flag label is accorded by an international jury composed of eminent members – United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Foundation for Environmental Education and International Union for Conservation of Nature. Recommendations are made by an independent national jury comprising eminent environmentalists and scientists.
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