10 beaches may be converted into global quality

10 beaches may be converted into global quality

The Union Environment Ministry plans to convert 10 popular sea beaches into international quality Blue Flag destination in 2018 to ensure cleanliness and safety of these beaches.

Of the 10 beaches, Karnataka's Malpe beach has been listed on the Blue Flag list. Tourism Director Manjula said that it was a welcome decision. "We had listed this beach as it fits into most of 33 categories listed by the ministry to select," she said.

All the coastal states have nominated the pilot beaches. Formal nominations are, however, awaited from Union territories like Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Environment ministry sources told DH Andaman would be the only place from where two beaches might be selected for the Blue Flag certification.

These ten beaches are being taken up as demonstration projects. Once they are cleaned up, 90 more beaches would be turned into Blue Flag zones.

The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education to ensure following a set of stringent standards to clean up the popular seaside destinations. None of the Indian beaches carry this certification, while Spain has 578 Blue Flag beaches.

Other countries with a large number of Blue Flag beaches are Turkey (436), Greece (395), Italy (342) and Portugal (299).

The developmental activities along the beach would include the creation of toilets and proper management of the waste material generated by tourists.

According to the existing Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) regulations, developmental activities are permitted in CRZ-2 (urban) and CRZ-3 (rural) areas. However, construction is prohibited in the CRZ-1 areas, which is they are between the high tide line and low tide line along the 7,500 km coastline.

"There is an absolute no-no on the developmental activities on 10% of coastline. On the remaining part, certain construction activities can be allowed with certain conditions," said an official.

The CRZ norms are under review at the green ministry, which is yet to come out with the fresh draft of the new norms.

Meanwhile, a tussle between the environment and finance ministries led to an impasse on spending nearly Rs 40,000 crore, parked in a Supreme Court-monitored kitty known as compensatory afforestation fund (CAMPA).

While the finance ministry wanted the transfer of the money to the consolidated fund of India before spending, the green ministry favoured spending under a separate head for better monitoring and utilisation of the fund, sources said.

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