INDIA: In recognition of India’s commitment to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources the globally recognised and the coveted International eco-label “Blue Flag”, has accorded the Blue Flag Certification for 2 new beaches in 2021 – Kovalam in Kerala and Eden in Puducherry beaches.
Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) which accords the globally recognised 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.
Announcing the same in a Twitter message, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav expressed happiness and congratulated everyone stating that it is another milestone in India’s journey towards a Clean and Green India led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS) which is one of the initiatives under the ICZM approach that the MoEF & CC has undertaken for the sustainable development of coastal regions of India, with a prime objective to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources.
This was aimed at achieving the globally recognized and coveted International eco-label “Blue Flag,” accorded by the International Jury comprising of members from IUCN, UNWTO, UNEP, UNESCO, etc. FEE Denmark conducts regular monitoring & audits for strict compliance with 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 the 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, India has achieved commendable results in the 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 the Ministry’s vision agenda.