Two more Indian Beaches get coveted International Blue Flag Certification
The coveted International eco-label "Blue Flag”, has accorded the Blue Flag Certification for 2 new beaches this year –Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry beaches.
Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) which accords the globally recognized eco-label - Blue Flag certification, has also given re-certification for 8 nominated beaches Shivrajpur-Gujarat, Ghoghla-Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri-Karnataka, Kappad-Kerala, Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh, Golden-Odisha and Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar, which were awarded the Blue Flag certificate last year.
One of the initiatives under ICZM approach of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the flagship program Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS) which has the objective of protecting and conserving the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of resources.
This was aimed for achieving the globally recognized and the coveted International eco-label "Blue Flag” , accorded by International Jury comprising of members from IUCN, UNWTO ,UNEP, UNESCO etc. FEE Denmark conduct regular monitoring & audits for strict compliance of the 33 criteria at all times. A waving “Blue Flag” is an indication of 100% compliance to these 33 stringent criteria and sound health of the beach.
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. In the last 3 years or so, our Ministry have achieved commendable results in environmental management of these 10 beaches and some of them are enumerated below:
- Sand dune restoration and nourishment of 95,000 Sqm (approx.) with native plantation.
- Reduction in marine litter by 85 % and 78% in marine plastic in last 3 years.
- Scientific & responsible disposal of 750 tonnes of marine litter.
- Improvement in cleanliness level from “C” (poor) to “A++(outstanding) through scientific measurement system
- Saving of 1100 ML/year of municipal water through recycling
- 3 years’ database on regular testing of bathing water quality (physical, chemical and biological contamination) and health risk monitoring.
- Approx. 1,25,000 beach goers are educated for responsible behaviour in the beaches
- Increase in footfall for recreation activities by approx. 80% leading to economic development.
- Alternate livelihood opportunities for 500 fishermen families through pollution abatement, safety & services.
The Ministry is further committed to develop and deliver 100 more beaches under its ICZM initiative in the ensuing 5 years of Ministry’s vision agenda.
While we become happy hearing about these tags, one needs to be cautious that any concrete structures and plantations in the beach for beautification has got its own adverse ecological effects. Too often aesthetics trump over ecological fragility. Lights in the night leads to light pollution which the authorities are not aware of. No study has been done about it. So we need to conduct longterm ecological studies of the impact of our beautification efforts in these beaches before moving ahead in the so called development of beaches.