Blue flag certification of beaches in India

Blue flag certification – one of the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-labels. India takes immense pride in saying that it is the first nation to secure 8 blue flag certifications in the first attempt.

 Beaches, marinas, the colour blue, doesn’t all of that bring a  strange sense of serenity? And the beaches that offer that sense of calmness, that makes people feel secure come to be awarded the Blue Flag Tag. Let’s dive in and see what it is and how big of a change it makes.

What is Blue Flag Tag?

All nations covet the Blue Flag Tag or certification. And India is the only nation to secure eight of them in a single attempt. Blue Flags are only awarded to beaches and marinas for one season. This means that the beach or marina is continually living up to high standards. Those high standards include quality services, safety procedures and how actively it monitors water quality.

July 20, 2018. The Lanzada is a beach in Pontevedra The Lanzada is a beach in Pontevedra with Blue Flag a symbol of ecological beaches at the seaside

What does Blue Flag comprise of?

Denmark based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) awards this Blue Flag Tag. The central idea of the programme is to connect people with nature, surroundings and make them learn more about the environment. 

This prestigious certification is awarded to beaches, marinas and marine areas under stringent criterias. Accordingly, if the opted beaches and marinas meet the provided criteria they are endowed with the Blue Flag Tag. 

The international jury comprises members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Foundation for Environment Education (FEE) and International Union for Conservation of Nation (IUCN)

Origin of the Blue Flag Tag?

Interestingly, the initiative was originally a symbol of an environmental awareness initiative. It has a funny story behind it. French schoolchildren were asked to write a message in a plastic bottle along with their names and the names of the nearest beaches. Then, the French Military collected them and dropped them off in the ocean where they went. The aim was that when the bottles hit the shores they would highlight the issues of dumping litter in the oceans. And this is what led to the formation of The Blue Flag Programme in France in 1985. Its main goal was to promote sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas. 

In its first edition, the creators – the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) – hoisted the Blue Flag at 244 beaches and 208 marinas from 10 nations. The beaches must meet 33 criteria across four main categories:

  • Environmental Education and Information
  • Water Quality
  • Environmental Management
  • Safety and Services

Likewise, Blue flag marinas have to meet six categories:

  • Environmental Education and Information
  • Environmental Management
  • Safety and Services
  • Water Quality
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Social and Community Involvement

How many tags did India secure?

Now that you’ve known all about what Blue Flag Tag is, let’s see what India has to offer. It is worth mentioning that no other nation has been awarded 8 Blue Flag Tags in a single attempt. Under the above-mentioned categories, the beaches were inspected and given the Blue Flag Tag on October 6th, 2020. 

The eight esteemed  beaches are:

  • Kappad – Kerala
  • Shivrajpur – Gujarat
  • Ghoghla – Diu
  • Kasarkod – Karnataka
  • Padubidri – Karnataka
  • Rushikonda – Andhra Pradesh
  • Golden – Odisha
  • Radhanagar – Andaman and Nicobar Islands

India proudly hoisted its eight Blue Flags on October 6th. The state ministers and senior officials of the respective states and union territories hoisted the Blue flags simultaneously. In addition, two more beaches, Kovalam and Eden were awarded the certification this year and the rest eight beaches were recertified too. 

Why are Blue Flags important?

Blue Flag beaches connect you to your local waters so that you can learn more about them and why access to them is so vital. Also, they provide a sense of pride to communities and attract tourism. Besides, they also help protect the water and local environment by sustainably managing all types of waste, including recyclables, litter, compost, and hazardous waste.

Let us take it upon us to learn all about Blue Flag Tags and how important they are to our nation to maintain a stable environment. 

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