Five beaches awarded exclusive Blue Flags

This week five beaches in Puerto Rico were awarded Blue Flags from the Foundation of Environmental Education. The five beaches are now available in a custom map on DóndeEs.com. The beaches receiving the distinction are: the Seven Seas in Fajardo, Escambrón in San Juan, the La Monserrate in Luquillo, Punta Salinas in Toa Baja, and the Carolina public beach.

The Blue Flag is a voluntary and exclusive eco-label awarded in 2007 to more than 3300 beaches and marinas in 36 countries across Europe, Morocco, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and the Caribbean.

The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development at beaches and marinas through publicly awarding sites that meet strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services. A few of the issues covered in the criteria include cleanliness, provisions for waste and recycling, zoning of activities, and environmental education activities for a variety of people. The program has also recently started a voluntary scheme for private boat owners called the Individual Blue Flag, which boaters can fly if they have signed and agreed to follow an environmental code of conduct.

The criteria involved with the obtaining the distinction are:

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND INFORMATION

  • Information relating to coastal zone ecosystems and natural, sensitive areas in the coastal zone must be displayed
  • Information about bathing water quality must be displayed
  • Information about the Blue Flag Programme must be displayed
  • Code of conduct for the beach area must be displayed and the laws governing beach use must be easily available to the public upon request
  • A minimum of 5 environmental education activities must be offered
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
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 comply with all regulations affecting the location and operation of the beach (coastal zone planning and environmental legislation)
  • 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
  • Adequate and clean sanitary facilities with controlled sewage disposal
  • On the beach there will be no unauthorised camping or driving and no dumping
  • Regulation concerning dogs and other domestic animals on the beach must be strictly enforced
  • All buildings and equipment of the beach must be properly maintained
  • Sustainable means of transportation must be promoted in the beach area
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
  • There must be management of different users and uses of the beach so as to prevent conflicts and accidents
  • An emergency plans to cope with pollution safety risks must be in place
  • There must be safe access to the beach
  • The beach area must be patrolled
  • A supply of potable 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
  • Map of the beach indicating different facilities must be displayed

1 comments:

bigdog

14 de noviembre de 2007, 09:25
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dijo...

BigDog applauds the addition of these beaches to the Blue Flag standard. Although we have a long way to go, Puerto Rico is beginning to wake up to the value of a clean environment. It makes both financial and environmental sense.