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Centre eases CRZ rules for ‘Blue Flag’ beaches

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Centre eases CRZ rules for ‘Blue Flag’ beaches

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Key features, eligibility criteria and significance of the scheme.

Context: Centre eases CRZ rules for ‘Blue Flag’ beaches.

This is to help States construct infrastructure and enable them to receive ‘Blue Flag’ certification.

Need:

The Blue Flag certification requires beaches to create certain infrastructure — portable toilet blocks, grey water treatment plants, a solar power plant, seating facilities, CCTV surveillance and the like. However, India’s CRZ laws don’t allow the construction of such infrastructure on beaches and islands.

Blue flag programme:

The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).

It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined.

Definition:

The ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an ‘eco-tourism model’ and marks out beaches as providing tourists and beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment, and sustainable development of the area.

Key facts:

  • Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
  • Spain tops the list with 566 such beaches; Greece and France follow with 515 and 395, respectively.

Criteria:

There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.

Beaches identified in India:

  • 13 pilot beaches have been identified for the certification.
  • These include Ghoghala Beach (Diu), Shivrajpur beach (Gujarat), Bhogave (Maharashtra), Padubidri and Kasarkod (Karnagaka), Kappad beach (Kerala) etc.
  • Chandrabhaga beachof Odisha’s Konark coast was the first to complete the tag certification process will be the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification.

Sources: the Hindu.