The Blue Flag programme is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Under the programme, a ‘blue flag certification’ is given to environment-friendly and clean beaches, equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists. To achieve the Blue Flag standards, a beach must be plastic-free and equipped with a waste management system. Clean water should be available for tourists, apart from international amenities. The beach should also have facilities for studying the environmental impact around the area. To achieve the Blue Flag standards, a beach had to strictly comply with 33 environment and tourism-related conditions.
The Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odisha is the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification. Twelve more beaches in the country are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), an Environment Ministry’s body working for the management of coastal areas, in accordance with the Blue Flag standards. Among them are the Chiwla and Bhogave beaches in Maharashtra and one beach each from Puducherry, Goa, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Environment Ministry embarked on the Blue Flag project in December 2017.