For the first time, eight Indian beaches have been granted the prestigious 'Blue Flag' certification, announced the Environment Ministry on Sunday, October 11.
Calling it a "proud moment" for the country, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the certification is a global recognition of the country's efforts towards conservation and sustainable development efforts.
The Blue Flag certification is a globally recognized eco-label granted by "Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark". This certification is based on 33 stringent criteria under four major heads comprising of environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environmental management, and conservation, and safety and services at the beaches.
Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world due to their highest environmental and quality standards.
The beaches which have been awarded the certification are Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Diu, Kasarkod, and Padubidri in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden in Odisha, and Radhanagar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, it said.
The ministry said that the certification has been awarded to eight beaches spread across five states and two union territories by an international jury comprising of eminent members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Denmark-based NGO Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
"(It is a) proud moment for India that international organizations and juries have accorded 'Blue Flag' to our 8 sea beaches. They're being recognized for their cleanliness, friendly infrastructure, sustainable development practices in the ocean nearby, and on beaches," commented Mr. Javadekar.
India has also been awarded the third prize by the jury under the "International Best Practices" for pollution control in coastal regions.