In a moment of pride, India has been awarded the third position under the ‘International Best Practices’ for pollution control in coastal regions. Moreover, eight beaches of India from five states and two union territories have been awarded the “BLUE FLAG” certification. The country has been awarded by an International Jury comprising of eminent members viz United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The beaches that have been awarded the ‘BLUE FLAG” are Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden (Puri-Odisha) and Radhanagar (A&N Islands).
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar tweeted, “It is an outstanding feat considering that no ‘BLUE FLAG’ nation has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt… this is also a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts”.
In another tweet, the minister further, said, “India is also the first country in “Asia-Pacific” region which has achieved this feat in just about two years’ time.”
As a matter of fact, Japan, South Korea and UAE are the only other Asian nations who have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches. However, the time frame for these countries was of about five to six years. India is now in the league of 50 “BLUE FLAG” countries and we take pride in this honour to our nation, planning to take this journey forward to 100 such beaches in the country in the next five years.
India began its humble journey in 2018 for development of pilot beaches (one each in a coastal states/UTs) and presented the first set of eight beaches for the certification for the ensuing tourist season 2020.
SICOM, Ministry of Environment, Fort and Climate Change (MoEFCC), in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project. This was aimed at striving for the coveted International eco-label “Blue flag”, accorded by The Foundation of Environment Education (FEE) Denmark.
The BEAMS program focusses on abating pollution in coastal waters and beaches, promote sustainable development of beach amenities/ facilities, protect and conserve coastal ecosystems and natural resources and encourage local authorities and stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene, safety and security for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment norms and regulations. This program promotes beach tourism and recreation in absolute harmony with nature; and is unique in that sense.
(With Inputs from PIB)