• Union Environment Minister virtually hoisted international blue flags in eight beaches across the country.
• 8 beaches are: Kappad (Kerala), Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman and Nicobar Islands).
• Also, India sets up target of getting Blue flag certification for 100 more beaches in next 3-4 years.
• Blue Flag beach is an Eco-tourism model to provide tourists/beach goers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.
• Certification is accorded by Denmark based Foundation for Environment Education.
• It is based on 33 criteria in four major heads: Environmental Education and Information, Bathing Water Quality, Environment Management and Conservation and Safety and Services in the beaches.
• India had also launched its own eco-label BEAMS (Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect and conserve coastal ecosystems and natural resources etc.
• It has resulted in reducing marine litter by over 78% and marine plastic by over 83% in 10 coastal states.
• ICZM is to promote sustainable development and management of coastal zones.
Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level: Blue Flag beach
Mains level: Read the newsfeed