Rushikonda beach in Vizag is one among the eight in India that have been conferred with the coveted eco-label ‘Blue Flag’ certification based on stringent criteria on environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environmental management and conservation, and safety and services in the beaches from the international agency, Foundation for Environmental Education, Denmark. A communiqué received from Arvind Nautiyal, National Project Director, Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) under the Ministry, to the district administration of Visakhapatnam on Sunday, confirming that the International Jury of the Denmark agency “would like to award the Blue Flag to Rushikonda beach.
Last year, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had embarked upon a program for ‘Blue Flag’ certification for 13 beaches in the country. Rushikonda Beach is the only beach in the State, which was selected by the Union government, for development to match international standards, under Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services project.
Expressing happiness for getting the much-needed certification, state Tourism Minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao said, it is one more jewel in our Vizag’s crown, and with this, more international tourists will come and enjoy in the beaches which are according to international norms of safety, cleanliness and provide amenities matching international standards.
Sohan Hattangadi, heritage enthusiast and environment activist said, this is a remarkable effort especially considering the vulnerability of this beach to pollution, especially plastic litter. Tons of plastic drift up from Vizag to this beach whenever it rains. The challenge will be to keep the beach clean. Also, we must remember that environmental education plays a part in this certification. We hope that the tourism department will focus on the safeguarding of our beaches and spread environmental awareness among the public.
As a part of the Blue Flag Project, amenities like outdoor fitness equipment, machinery for continuous beach cleaning, safety equipment like CCTV cameras, and lifeguards were all provided, said R. Purnima Devi, District Tourism Officer, and Nodal Officer for the Blue Flag Project said.
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