From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CRZ norms, Blue flag certification
Mains level : Blue Flag Certification
The MoEFCC has relaxed Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules that restrict construction near beaches to help States construct infrastructure and enable them to receive ‘Blue Flag’ certification.
Why such move?
- The Blue Flag certification, however, 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.
- The new order allows for some constructions subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 meters from HTL (High Tide Line).
Blue Flag certification
- 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.
- The certification is accorded by the Denmark-based Foundation for Environment 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.
- It has 33 stringent criteria under four major heads for the beaches, that is, (i) Environmental Education and Information (ii) Bathing Water Quality (iii) Environment Management and Conservation and (iv) Safety and Services.
Blue Flag beaches
- 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 Blue Flag beaches, respectively.
- Last year, the Ministry selected 13 beaches in India to vie for the certificate.
- The earmarked beaches are — Ghoghala beach (Diu), Shivrajpur beach (Gujarat), Bhogave beach (Maharashtra), Padubidri and Kasarkod beaches (Karnataka), Kappad beach (Kerala), Kovalam beach (Tamil Nadu), Eden beach (Puducherry), Rushikonda beach (Andhra Pradesh), Miramar beach (Goa), Golden beach (Odisha), Radhanagar beach (Andaman & Nicobar Islands) and Bangaram beach (Lakshadweep).