Eight beaches in India, across five states and two union territories, have been awarded the prestigious ‘Blue Flag’ certification, announced Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.
These beaches include Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod, and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden (Puri-Odisha), and Radhanagar (A&N Islands).
What is Blue Flag?
This is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. “In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria (about 33 of them) must be met and maintained,” mentions the official website.
The certification was awarded to India by an international jury comprising the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
Taking to his Twitter handle, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar broke the news of not just India getting international recognition for cleanliness and coastal development but also becoming the first Blue Flag nation to be awarded for eight beaches. He tweeted, “An outstanding feat, as no #BLUEFLAG nation has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt (sic).” He added, “Proud moment for India; all 8 beaches recommended by government gets coveted International #Blueflag Certification (sic).”
While interacting with the media, Javadekar shared, “The #Blueflag certification accorded to India’s 8 beaches by an international jury comprising of @IUCN, @UNWTO, @UNEP, etc. is also a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts (sic).” A statement released by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change revealed that India has also been awarded the third prize by the International Jury under the “International Best Practices” for pollution control in coastal regions.
While Japan, South Korea, and UAE have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches in a time frame of about 5 to 6 years, Javadekar stated that India is the first country in the “Asia-Pacific” region which has achieved this feat in just about 2 years’ time and is now in the league of 50 “BLUE FLAG” countries.
(Inputs from Indian Express, Bloomberg, and others)