Rushikonda Beach in Vizag, along with seven other beaches in India, has been recognised with the coveted Blue Flag certification. The seven other beaches selected for the prestigious honour include Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod, and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Golden (Odisha), and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
The announcement was made by Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, on Sunday. Making the announcement, the Minister said, “It is an outstanding feat considering that no ‘Blue Flag’ nation has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt. This is also a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.”
Visakhapatnam District Collector V Vinay Chand received a communication from Sanjai Jalla, Mission Leader, Blue Flag Beaches of India, stating that Rushikonda Beach has been conferred the Blue Flag label. The letter further read that India has bagged the third position under ‘International Best Practices’ for control of pollution in coastal regions among the fifty Blue Flag nations. Applauding the efforts of the district administration, Mr Jalla added in the letter that a formal intimation on the flag hoisting ceremony at Rushikonda Beach will be informed soon.
Expressing satisfaction over the certification, District Tourism Officer, and Nodal Officer of Blue Flag Project, Visakhapatnam, R Poornima Devi thanked everyone who contributed towards Rushikonda Beach achieving this unique feat. “From landscaping the sand dunes and providing parking facilities to installing CCTV cameras, watchtowers, and employing lifeguards for constant surveillance, all the facilities were provided to meet the global standards,” the District Tourism Officer told Yo! Vizag. She added that the latest achievement will place the city on the international tourism map.
The ‘Blue Flag’ certification is given by the Denmark-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). In order to receive the label, beaches have to fulfill 33 criteria in four categories (Environmental Education and Information, Water Quality, Environmental Management, and Safety and Services). It is to be noted that Rushikonda Beach is the only one beach in the state, which was selected by the Union government, for the development to match international standards, under the BEAMS (Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services) project.