These beaches of Odisha, Maharashtra and other coastal states will be the first in not just India, but in Asia, to get the Blue Flag certification. The Indian beaches are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), an environment ministry’s body working for the management of coastal areas, according to the Blue Flag certification standards.
Project Head of SCIOM Arvind Nautiyal said that to make the beaches environment and tourist-friendly in accordance with the Blue Flag standards, a beach has to be plastic-free and be equipped with a waste management system. They also have to ensure availability of clean water for tourists, have amenities of international standards for tourists and be equipped with facilities for studying environmental impact around the beach.
The Blue Flag beach standards were established by Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 1985. The Blue Flag programme, which requires 33 standards in four areas to be met to make beaches environment-friendly, first started from Paris. Within the next two years, almost all beaches in Europe were accorded the Blue Flag certification. This campaign spread outside Europe, to South Africa, in 2001.
This project has two main aims. Firstly, to improve the aquatic habitat by cleaning the growing pollution and garbage in the Indian beaches. Secondly, to develop ecological tourism with constant progress and development of tourist facilities.