Padubidri beach in Udupi earns international acclaim with ‘Blue Flag’ tag3 min read
UDUPI: Padubidri beach in Udupi district is one among the eight Indian beaches, which has been awarded the coveted ‘Blue Flag’ certification on October 11. The seven other beaches to have received the tag include Kasarkod (Karnataka), Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Golden (Puri-Odisha), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), and Radhanagar (Andaman and Nicobar Islands).
The globally recognised eco-label is awarded by an international jury comprising members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a Denmark-based non-governmental organisation. The sought-after ‘Blue Flag’ tag is one of the most prestigious awards that can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator. The FEE approves the certification based on 33 stringent criteria under 4 broad categories of environmental awareness, environmental education, environmental management and beach safety.
“The main goal of this certification was to develop beaches as per international standards and this has been achieved. Funding of Rs 8 crore for management purposes was provided by the Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) and all peripheral activities, costing around Rs 2.68 crores were funded by the Karnataka state government,” said Chandrashekhar Naik, Assistant Director of Tourism, Udupi. Speaking to The Manipal Journal, he added, ”This ‘Blue Flag’ certification of the beach will be a major boost for tourism in the district as it will attract both local and international visitors. The beach will now become more prominent on the map.” Homestays, hotels and other tourist services in the area are expected to increase in the coming months and will aid in meeting the economic aspects of upkeep and maintenance, as well as in boosting the livelihood opportunities for the locals of Padubidri.
As per regulations, safety measures for swimming have been set up and fully-equipped toilet facilities are available for all, including disabled persons. “Drinking water facilities, changing rooms and other additional installations have been made. Not only has the water quality been tested safe, but it is also recycled to water the plants and garden around the beach,” Naik mentioned.
This achievement has been credited to the locals of the area, the beach managers, and the maintenance and garbage disposal department. Additionally, the RTO (Regional Transport Office), MESCOM (Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited), local stakeholders, elected representatives and tourism stakeholders are said to have been involved during the whole process.
According to a communication received by the district from Sanjai Jalla, SICOM’s Mission Leader of the Blue Flag beaches of India, no ‘Blue Flag’ nation has ever been awarded the tag for eight recommended beaches in a single attempt. Along with achieving this feat, India also bagged the third place for ‘International Best Practices’ for control of pollution in coastal regions. FEE’s international certification programme was started in France in 1985 and has members in 77 countries. The eco-label has been awarded to 4,573 beaches, marinas and boats to date.
Featured Image Courtesy: Abhishek Manoharan
Edited by: Josephine Justin