Eden becomes first Puducherry beach to get coveted Blue Flag tag

A decorative arch at Eden Beach at Chinna Veerampattinam near Puducherry. File   | Photo Credit: Kumar S.S.

Eden Beach in Chinna Veerampattinam near Puducherry has become the first beach in the Union Territory to get the coveted ‘Blue Flag’ certification from the Denmark-based Foundation for Environment Education (FEE).

Kovalam beach in Tamil Nadu is the other beach to get the certification this year, taking the number of Blue Flag beaches in the country to 10.

Official sources said a communication had been received from Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change that the International jury of the Denmark agency had selected Eden beach for Blue Flag certification. The tag is given to environment-friendly and clean beaches, equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists.

A Blue Flag beach is an eco-tourism model to provide tourists clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.

“The Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches in the world. The certification is awarded based on 33 stringent criteria relating to environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environment management and conservation, services and accessibility standards and safety,” Secretary to Government (Public Works and Tourism) A. Vikranth Raja told The Hindu.

Watch | What is Blue Flag tag?

Mr. Raja said SICOM was given the task of identifying 10 beaches in India to get the certification under Blue Flag. They started to evaluate on stringent criteria including water quality in the beach, ocean currents, cleanliness, public amenities and whether the beach had facilities for persons with disabilities, parking and toilet amenities. The Union Government had selected 10 beaches and Eden beach was one among them.

“The process began in 2018-19 and infrastructural facilities in the beach were shared by both the Centre and Puducherry governments. While the territorial administration took care of water, road and power facilities, SICOM was in charge of parking, toilet and treatment plant, drinking water and bathing amenities. The government, in association with SICOM, also constituted a Beach Management committee. The management of the beach will be slowly transferred to the committee for asset management and cleanliness,” Mr. Raja said.

The certification will also draw more international tourists who will be assured of the best of facilities at the beach, he said while adding, “We will also be allowed to hoist the Blue Flag, a symbol that the beach is very clean.”

An 800-meter-long safe swimming zone has been created in Eden. The beach also has a greywater treatment plant, solid waste management plant, seating arrangements, clean drinking water, washroom, changing room, bathing room, toilets for tourists, including for persons with disabilities and parking facilities.

“The government is now looking at a revenue model involving the local community to ensure that they are highly benefitted. It will be a win-win situation,” Mr. Raja said, adding that the Union government had asked the administration to identify 10 more beaches from the Union Territory. Based on the success of the revenue model in Eden beach, the government will be replicating the model.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 4:17:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/eden-becomes-first-puducherry-beach-to-get-coveted-blue-flag-tag/article36607544.ece

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