INDIA. The nation received the prestigious Blue Flag certification for eight of its beaches on Sunday. Previously, the Indian government recommended eight beaches for the international eco-label on 18 Sept.
In an open statement, the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “It is a proud moment for the country. The Blue Flag certification is a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts. It also puts India ahead of other Asian countries.”
“In fact, India is the only country to have achieved this feat in such a small-time,” he added. “Blue Flag certification has been awarded to eight beaches spread across five states and two union territories by an international jury.”
Along with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the jury included the members of the Denmark NGO Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
What it takes to win a Blue Flag
The Blue Flag certification is a globally recognized eco-label accorded by the FEE. The certification is based on 33 stringent criteria under four main categories.
The main categories include environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environmental management and conservation, and safety and services at the beaches. Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches in the world.
The beaches that recieved the certification were Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden in Odisha, and Radhanagar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
India began its journey in 2018 for the development of pilot beaches, including one in each coastal state. However, it was in 2020 when the country presented the first set of eight beaches for award consideration.
Interestingly, India is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region which has achieved this feat in just 2 years. India is now in the league of 50 Blue Flag awarded countries.
The nation has also been awarded the third prize under the international practices category for pollution control in coastal regions. Meanwhile, only Japan, South Korea, and the UAE were awarded Blue flag certification among other Asian countries. However, they won over a period of five to six years.