Two beaches in Karnataka are among the eight in India that have bagged the coveted eco-label ‘Blue Flag’ from the international agency, Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark. The two are:
- Kasarkod beach near Honnavar in Uttara Kannada.
- Padubidri beach near Udupi.
- Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat).
- Ghoghla (Diu).
- Kappad (Kerala).
- Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh).
- Golden (Puri-Odisha).
- Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has embarked upon a programme for ‘Blue Flag’ certification for 13 beaches in the country.
About Blue flag programme:
The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental 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.
What is a Blue Flag beach?
It 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.
There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
Is Blue Flag certification available only for beaches?
No. It can be given to a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator.
- Basically, the Blue Flag is a trademark.