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Blue Flag Challenge

Published: 26th Jul, 2019

Twelve Indian beaches are in the race for the ‘Blue Flag’ challenge, which started in France in 1985.


Twelve Indian beaches are in the race for the ‘Blue Flag’ challenge, which started in France in 1985.



  • It is international recognition conferred on beaches and marinas that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety and equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists.
  • It was first started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987.
  • It is run by international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
  • Since 2001 it has been implemented in areas outside Europe when South Africa joined.
  • Criteria: There are almost 33 criteria that must be met by beaches and marinas to qualify for Blue Flag certification. It includes:
    • Information about the Blue Flag Programme and other FEE eco-label must be displayed.
    • Environmental education activities must be offered and promoted to beach users.
    • Information about bathing water quality must be displayed.
    • Information relating to local eco-systems, environmental elements and cultural sites must be displayed.
    • A map of the beach indicating different facilities must be displayed.
    • The beach must fully comply with the water quality sampling and frequency requirements.
    • The beach must fully comply with the standards and requirements for water quality analysis.
    • Industrial, waste-water or sewage-related discharges must not affect the beach Area
    • The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for physical parameters.
    • At least one Blue Flag beach in each municipality must have access and facilities provided for the physically disabled
  • Validation: If approved, beaches are given blue flag tag for a year and they must apply annually to continue meriting right to fly this flag at their locations.
  • Top countries: Spain (total blue flags: 684), France (492) and Turkey (458). Japan and South Korea are only countries from South/southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
  • Chandrabhaga beach on Konark coast in Odisha was first in Asia to get Blue Flag certification (awarded in June 2019).

Initiatives by Government for Beach Conservation

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change today signed a letter of Intent establishing the India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative together with the Norwegian ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • The government is in the process of framing a National Marine Litter Policy with the objective to clean up the oceans, which is in line with UN Environment’s global ‘Clean Seas Campaign’ that India joined on World Environment Day 2018.
  • The government is installing debris booms and fin deflectors upstream as measures to reduce the quantity of floating solid waste entering coastal waters.

Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)

  • FEE is a non-profit non-governmental organisation with member organisations in 48 countries as of June 2007.
  • FEE aims to promote sustainable development through environmental education. The education can be in the form of formal school education, training of staff and general awareness raising.
  • It is based in Copenhagen, Denmark


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