Why in news?
- The Union Environment Ministry has selected 13 beaches in India to vie for a ‘Blue Flag’ certification.
- These beaches are at Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Bhogave (Maharashtra), Ghoghla (Diu), Miramar (Goa), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Eden (Puducherry), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha), and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
About the 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.
- At present Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
- Spain tops the list followed by Greece and France.
- The Blue Flag is sought for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators as an indication of their high environmental and quality standards.
- The certification includes standards for quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management criteria.
- There are nearly 33 criteria that have to be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification.
- Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
- Indian beaches and Blue flag certification:
- Recently centre issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification declaring a list of activities and facilities that would be permissible in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas of certain beaches, including Islands, subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL) which have been identified for obtaining the ‘Blue Flag’ certification.
- The Indian beaches are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), an environment ministry’s body working for the management of coastal areas, according to the Blue Flag certification standards.
- Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odisha became the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification in 2018.