Are you a UPSC 2021 aspirant? Have you ever come across the term Blue Flag? What is the meaning of Blue Flag? Ever wondered about how the certification works for it? What is the Blue Flag programme and how does it work in India? Why is it relevant in the present scenario?

Read about the Blue Flag Beaches in India for your UPSC exam preparation 2021. Also, find answers for all the above questions along with Blue Flag Certification and its relevance in UPSC. Know how the beaches provided the certification was approved for the programme and what is its relevance in India.

What is Blue Flag Certification?

The Blue Flag certification is awarded by the non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education in Denmark. The FEE criteria for awarding the certification to the bodies include setting standards for quality, safety, environmental education and information, provision of services and general environmental management criteria. It is specifically awarded to the bodies that have high water quality and environmental standards.

Some of the standard criteria set for beaches under the FEE include-

1. Water Quality

  • Compliance with the requirements and standards for excellent bathing water quality
  • No industrial or sewage-related discharges may affect the beach area
  • Monitoring on the health of coral reefs located in the vicinity of the beach
  • Compliance of the community with requirements for sewage treatment and effluent quality
  • Algae or other vegetation should be left to decay on the beach unless it constitutes a nuisance

2. Environmental Management

  • A beach management committee must be established to be in charge of instituting environmental management systems and conduct regular environmental audits of the beach facility
  • The beach must be clean
  • Waste disposal bins/receptacles must be available on/by the beach in adequate numbers, regularly maintained and emptied
  • Facilities for receiving recyclable waste materials must be available on/by the beach
  • The regulation concerning dogs and other domestic animals on the beach must be strictly enforced
  • Sustainable means of transportation must be promoted in the area

3. Safety and Services

  • An adequate number of lifeguards and/or lifesaving equipment must be available at the beach

  • First aid equipment must be available on the beach

  • An emergency plan to cope with pollution safety risks must be in place

  • A supply of drinking water must be available on the beach

  • A minimum of one Blue Flag beach in each municipality must have access and toilet facilities provided for disabled persons

Origin of the Programme

The BF Program was started in 1985 in France with an objective to promote sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas throughout the criteria of water quality, environmental management, environmental education, and safety. The program is managed by the Foundation of Environmental Education.

Originally, the Blue Flag was a symbol of an environmental awareness initiative that invited school children to write a message in a plastic bottle and drop them on a beach. The French military would then pick them up and drop them up at the coasts where they would be travelling. The initiative aimed at spreading the message that the litter thrown out at the water bodies reaches every part of the world and impacts everyone equally. This gave inspiration to the organisation to start a programme that promotes the development and safety of the environment

Blue Flag Beaches in India- its relevance in UPSC 2021

In October 2020, the Union Minister of Environments, Forests, and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar announced that 8 beaches across 5 states and 2 Union Territories in India have been awarded the Blue Flag Tag. This was awarded by an international jury that consisted of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE). The list of beaches can be seen below-

  1. Shivrajpur Beach, Dwarka, Gujrat
  2. Ghoghla Beach, Ghoghla Village, Diu
  3. Kasarkod Beach, Honavar, Karnataka
  4. Padubidri Beach, Padubidri, Karnataka
  5. Kappad Beach, Kozhikode, Kerala
  6. Rushikonda Beach, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
  7. Golden Beach, Puri, Odisha
  8. Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman

Also Read: UPSC Geography Optional Concepts: What are Exogenic Forces?

The Activities Permitted for Blue Flag Areas

The BF can be obtained by bodies such as a beach, a marina or sustainable boating touring operator, as long as they serve as eco-labels. At the beginning of the year 2020, the Extraordinary Gazette Notification published an announcement by the Centre that listed out the permissible activities that were allowed on the Coastal Regulation Zone(CRZ) areas including islands identified for the BF certification. The activities and facilities in the list are as follows-

  • Portable toilet blocks, change rooms and shower panels

  • Grey water treatment plant

  • Solid waste management plant

  • Solar power plant

  • Purified drinking water facility

  • Beach access pathways

  • Landscaping lighting

  • Seating benches and sit-out umbrellas

  • Outdoor play / fitness equipment

  • CCTV surveillance and control room

  • First aid station

  • Cloak room facility

  • Safety watch towers and beach safety equipments

  • Beach layout, environment information boards and other signages

  • Fencing, preferably vegetative

  • Parking facilities

  • Entry gate, tourist facilitation centre

  • Other associated facilities or infrastructure, as per requirements of Blue Flag Certification

Also Read: UPSC 2020 Prelims Question: What is Ocean Mean Temperature?


Now that you are familiar with the 8 beaches that have the Blue Flag tag, are you planning to visit any of them post the COVID-19 era? Are you now familiar with the relevance of the concept in UPSC 2021? Do let us know in the comments below if you are familiar with any such familiar concepts related to the environment.

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Blue Flag Beaches in India: Things to Know about Blue Flag Certification for UPSC 2021
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Blue Flag Beaches in India: Things to Know about Blue Flag Certification for UPSC 2021
What are Blue Flag Beaches? What is the criteria to receive Blue Flag Certification? Which are the Blue Flag Beaches in India? Click here to find out about it all.
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