The certification is awarded by the non-profit organization by the name Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) based in Denmark to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators all around the world. The FEE’s criteria for awarding the blue flag certificate are extremely strict and serve both educational and safety-related purposes.
The tradition dates back to 1985 with the certification programme in France. It was extended to include areas out of Europe in the year 2001. The four main categories that the FEE assesses are water quality, environmental management and education and safety. The programme boasts having forty-seven participant nations and has so far awarded this certification to a total of 4,573 beaches, marinas and boats. An international jury consisting of members of the UN Environment Programme, UN World Tourism Organisation, Foundation for Environmental Education and the IUCN.
A notice dating back to July 2019 had talked of the Environment Ministry identifying beaches in India like Shivrajpur (Devbhumi, Dwarka, Gujarat), Bhogave (Sindhudurg, Maharashtra), Ghoghla (Diu, Daman and Diu), Miramar (Panjim, Goa), Kasarkod (Karwar, Karnataka), Padubidri (Udupi, Karnataka), Kappad (Kozhikode, Kerala), Eden (Puducherry), Mahabalipuram (Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu), Rushikonda (Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Puri, Odisha), and Radhanagar (Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar) for being eligible to receive the blue flag certification.
Currently, eight beaches of India have received the certification. The beaches are – Kappad (Kerala), Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands). Speaking about the topic, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javedkar said that this was indeed an incredible feat given the fact that no country has received certification for eight beaches in one go. He also added that this was proof of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.