8 Indian Beaches accorded the prestigious “Blue Flag” Certification
Certifying beaches to fly the Blue Flag started in Europe first as beach lovers found many beaches littered with dirt and plastics and remains of beach parties. Over 4500 beaches fly the Blue Flag in Europe with Beach Management Systems (BEAMS) in place.
In India it started 2 years ago with a dream to make Indian beaches safe and clean. Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SECOM) under the Ministry of Environment worked on the project, selected the beaches and floated tenders. The winners were given the task to develop the beaches to meet the criteria for certification. Of the 33 criteria only 3 related to safety which is understandable for European countries where safety consciousness is high and safety systems are in place. But not so in India!
The Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India) or RLSS (I), therefore, stepped in to contribute in support of the Beach Management System (BEAMS) in phases like:
- Phase I – Audited and surveyed the beaches.
- Phase II – Trained Beach Lifeguards and Beach Managers in international Beach Management Systems and protocols.
- Phase III – Recommended sourced and supplied Beach Safety Equipment.
- Phase IV – Advised and assisted with rigging of the beach with Beach Flag Systems, safety hoardings and signage with information on the beach and safest place to swim or bathe.
Creating a Safe Swim Haven marked with red & yellow flags was declared an important task for lifeguards to set up every morning, all in support of the Beach Management System. They worked tirelessly mapping, creating approaches, cleaning and marking the safe areas and rigging the beaches to international standards of safety and services.
RLSS (I) congratulates every person, who has been a part of this effort. It was difficult as many hurdles and challenges had to be overcome, but now when we look at these serene beaches, we know that we have done well by the cause of safer and cleaner beaches in India.
We would like to compliment the following organisations which made this possible.
- ICZM- World Bank Funded-Integrated Coastal Zone Management
- MoEFCC-Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
- FEE-Foundation of Environment Education
- SICOM-Society of Integrated Coastal Management
- BEAMS-Beach Management Services &
- RLSS (India) – The Project Team
A Glimpse of these Wonderful Beaches
What is Blue Flag?
The Blue Flag certification is an internationally recognized Eco-label accorded by the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark. The status is accorded only after meeting thirty-three criteria under four major heads, namely – environmental education & information; bathing water quality; environmental management & conservation; and safety & services on the beach. The Blue Flag beaches are considered clean, safe and friendly.
India is among the few countries in Asia, which has accepted to designate beaches to fly the Blue Flag fulfilling the criteria that goes with it. This certification is a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts for its beaches.
#BlueFlag #CleanBeaches #SafeBeaches #RLSSIndia
I was asked, “Why should we learn First Aid?” My response: Life is precious and it must be saved at all cost. General awareness of first aid among people contributes handsomely to our safety and saving of lives. Disasters, both natural and manmade, accidents, mishaps and even sudden illnesses can impact anyone, anywhere, at any time without warning. Faced with such a situation, one has a choice – do nothing as you do not know what to do or respond knowledgably and effectively because you found time to learn basic lifesaving skills or First Aid. Remember, disasters that give us grief are only 15% natural but 85% manmade. So we are the victims and the cause; care and concern at both ends can in deed save many precious lives.
The most vulnerable section of our population to mishaps and accidents is the youth, men and women in the age group of 15 to 50 years. Reasons for their vulnerability are many like:
- Mostly breadwinners in a family have to be on the move regardless of prevailing conditions.
- Still gaining experience in life and living with a tendency to take risks often convinced of their invincibility.
- Zest to experience living in all its forms in mountains, jungles, rivers and the sea, all eminently justifiable but not speed, alcohol, or drugs. In moderation they are fine but fatal if indulged in excesses.
Simple lifesaving skills, if acquired can help your buddy in distress both mental and physical. There are statistics on young people:
- Left to cope with a drunken friend who was sick, injured or unconscious.
- Had to deal with asthma attacks.
- Cope with someone with a head injury.
- Help someone who is choking.
- Admitted to hospital, commonly due to:
- Road accidents.
In all these situations, a helping hand by a first aider as a first responder can make the difference between life and death. The more we have of them among us the better.
Please learn lifesaving skills and contribute to SAFETY in the community.
Author: Rear Admiral PD Sharma Retd. Founder & President RLSS (India)
Meet Mrs. Jayanthi Murugesh, a volunteer with RLSS(I) for over 15 years, who is always ready to help the society. She is a creative artist, a mother, a lifesaver and now helping India fight against Corona virus.
She has set up India’s first ‘All Women’s Life Saving Centre‘ (AWLS) in Chennai promoting safety awareness amongst women, especially mothers, in keeping with RLSS (I)’s belief that ‘if you teach a woman first aid & lifesaving skills, she will take them back to her entire family and neighbours as well’. For the past many days, Jayanthi has been stitching hundreds of masks from recycled clothes and distributing them to the poor & needy. She has been ably assisted in this task by her son Tarun who is also a certified RLSS (I) Master Trainer and an athlete. On behalf of RLSS (I), we would like to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to this mother and son duo and pray for them to be safe and healthy.