On the occasion of International Coastal Clean-up Day, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change recommended Rushikonda Beach in Vizag for the coveted international eco-label, Blue Flag certification. Rushikonda is one of the eight beaches recommended for the label. As per the directions of the Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), Visakhapatnam District Collector, V Vinay Chand hoisted the ‘I AM SAVING MY BEACH’ flag on 18 September at Rushikonda Beach.
The Environment Ministry had chosen Rushikonda Beach in Vizag to implement BEAMS Project for Blue Flag Certification in 2017. Since then, around Rs 7.3 crore has been spent to equip the beach with various infrastructure facilities to match the standards for certification. Umbrella thatch with recliner chairs, container-based Bio Toilet blocks, separate steel litter bins for dry and wet wastes, container-based changing rooms with shower panels enclosed in bamboo housing, a greywater treatment plant, and a mini solar power plant, are a few features added to Rushikonda Beach.
Speaking to Yo! Vizag, District Tourism Officer, and Nodal Officer of Blue Flag Project, Visakhapatnam, R Poornima Devi informed that the Beach Management Committee, under the supervision of Visakhapatnam District Collector, has completed all the works at Rushikonda Beach stated under the BEAMS project. “From landscaping the sand dunes and providing parking facilities to installing CCTV cameras, watchtowers, and employing lifeguards for constant surveillance, we have taken all the measures to meet the global standards,” the District Tourism Officer said. She added that the committee is hopeful of achieving the Blue Flag Certificate from the International Jury in October.
The Blue Flag certification is an international eco-label certification for beaches and marinas. Operated under a Nonprofit Organisation, the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE), it is headquartered at Copenhagen in Denmark. The eco-label aims at ensuring coastal protection and enhancing local livelihoods through sustainable tourism activities. The certification is based on compliance to four main categories – Environmental Education and Information, Water Quality, Environmental Management, and Safety and Services.