The World Tourism Day celebrated by Tourism Department and Karaikal administration earlier this week through an array of programmes is expected to attract higher extent of footfall to Emerald Beach.
According to officials, the improved lighting and seating facilities were appreciated by the visitors to the beach for the programmes that encompassed a treasure hunt, sand art festival, kite festival, kabaddi competition, beach volleyball competition, boat race and photo shoot. The beach volleyball and kabaddi competitions were organised by the Education department, official sources said.
The first three winners were awarded cash prizes of ₹15,000, ₹10,000 and ₹5,000. The conduct of the programme for the first time could attract the attention of the visitors to the focus of the Karaikal administration on cleanliness on the beach. Cleaning activities are being conducted at periodic intervals, an official said, adding that there were strong indications of people thronging the beach in the evening hours on week-days as well.
Owing to its attractiveness, Emerald Beach was in the reckoning for the Blue Flag certification under a programme initiated in 2018 by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to propel tourism with improved amenities. However, the privilege was won by Eden Beach in Chinna Veerampattinam near Puducherry.
The Blue Flag certification is carried out by the Denmark-based Foundation for Environment Education based on 33 stringent criteria under the four heads: environmental education and information; bathing water quality; environment management and conservation; and safety and services.
Pollution caused by the mixing of sewage and industrial waste in the Arasalar river in Karaikal, a tributary of Cauvery, that drains into the sea, quelled the chances of the Emerald Beach to secure the coveted recognition. There is still hope that the beach will be in the reckoning for the certification since the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has set a target to develop at least 50-100 Blue Flag beaches over the next few years, officials said.
With the Blue Flag certification, the Society of Integrated Coastal Management, a body of the Ministry, strives for sustainable development of the coastal regions through its flagship programme BEAMS (Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services) under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project. The objectives are to control pollution in coastal waters and on beaches, promote sustainable development of beach amenities, protect and conserve coastal ecosystems and natural resources, and encourage local authorities and stakeholders to maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene, safety and security for beach-goers, in accordance with coastal environment norms.