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Odisha Beach to Become First in Asia to Get Blue Flag Certification

Palolem beach in Goa

As many as 13 Indian beaches are set to get the Blue Flag certification, marking the first ones in Asia to get the eco-label.

These beaches will be given the certification for being environment friendly, clean and for having facilities which are of international standards for tourists, PTI reported.

The Chandrabhaga beach in Odisha’s Konark is the first to finish the tag certification process, the report said, citing sources in the Indian environment ministry. The beach will be given the honor on June 5, observed as World Environment Day.

The other beaches in India that have been chosen to get the Blue Flag include the Chiwla and Bhogave beaches in Maharashtra, and one beach each from Puducherry, Goa, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Blue Flag is an eco-label operated under the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Blue Flag beach standards were established by the FEE in 1985, and mark a place that not only attracts tourism, but also promotes environmental issues and awareness.

The Indian beaches are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), a body under the environment ministry for management of coastal areas, as per the Blue Flag certification standards, the agency reported.

In order to make the beaches environment as well as tourist-friendly according to the required guidelines, a beach needs to be plastic-free and should have a waste management system, Arvind Nautiyal, the project head of SCIOM, said, the report added.

The beach also needs to have clean water available for tourists, besides other amenities of international standards for them, Nautiyal added. It should also be equipped with facilities so that environmental impact around the beach can be studied.

The Blue Flag program requires 33 standards in four areas that have to be met in order to make beaches environment-friendly, including safety and regular monitoring of the sites. Asia does not have any Blue Flag beach so far.

The project is also aimed at improving the aquatic habitat by keeping the beaches pollution-free by clearing the garbage.