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Blue Flag Beaches

Author: Alison Kelly ~ Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa

( Article Type: Explanation )

Blue Flags have been flying over South African beaches since 2001, when South Africa became the first country outside Europe to be granted the right to implement the Blue Flag campaign. A Blue Flag is an international eco-award, given only to those beaches that meet excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental management.

All beaches that fly the flag have to achieve compliance with 27 criteria, which cover four areas of coastal management: water quality, environmental management, environmental education and information, safety and services. All beaches are subject to regular control checks, have to test their water quality every two weeks and have to develop environmental management plans.

In 2006, almost 40 South African beaches will participate in the campaign, which boasts over 3 300 participating beaches and marinas worldwide.

Blue Flag is managed by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) and participating coastal local authorities. The Blue Flag campaign is one of several programmes run under DEAT’s Coastcare programme.

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