In News: Two beaches in Lakshadweep, have been accorded the ‘Blue Flag’ tag.
- India now has 12 “blue beaches”.
- The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label or certification that is given to coastal locations around the world as a badge of environmental honour.
- The Blue Flag programme started in 1987, initially in Europe and the certification is awarded annually.
- It is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.
- The Blue Flag programme is run by the Copenhagen, Denmark-headquartered Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a non-profit which, through its work, contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
- The certification is given by an international jury comprising members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), besides FEE.
- Aim: connecting the public with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment.
- In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
- A marina is a small harbour where mainly pleasure boats and yachts dock.
Beaches in India:
- The two new beaches to have been awarded the eco-label are Minicoy Thundi beach and Kadmat beach, both in Lakshadweep.
- The other 10 Indian beaches on the list are Shivrajpur in Gujarat’s Devbhumi Dwarka district; Ghogla beach in Diu; Kasarkod (Uttara Kannada) and Padubidri (Udupi) in Karnataka; Kappad (Kozhikode) in Kerala; Eden beach in Puducherry; Kovalam (Chennai) in Tamil Nadu; Rushikonda (Visakhapatnam) in Andhra Pradesh; Golden beach in Puri, Odisha; and Radhanagar Swarajdeep in Andaman and Nicobar.
- Kovalam and Eden got the Blue Flag last year. The other eight beaches received the certification in 2020, and were re-certified last year.
Dos and Don’ts:
- In 2020, an Extraordinary Gazette Notification gave a list of permissible activities and facilities in the CRZ of the beaches, including islands, subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL), for the purposes of Blue Flag certification.
- These included portable toilet blocks, change rooms and shower panels; solid waste management plant; solar power plant; purified drinking water facility; beach access pathways; landscaping lighting; seating benches and sit-out umbrellas; cloak room facility; safety watch towers and beach safety equipment; information boards and other signages; fencing; and parking facilities.
- These activities and facilities would be exempt from prior clearance under the provisions of CRZ Notification, Island Protection Zone Notification and Island Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications.
Source: Indian Express