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CRZ Rules Eased for 'Blue Flag' Beaches

  • 15 Jan 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Environment and Forest has relaxed Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.

  • CRZ rules restrict construction near beaches. Relaxation in the rules will allow States to construct infrastructure and enable the beaches to receive ‘Blue Flag’ certification.

Key Points

  • The Ministry selected 13 beaches in India for the Blue Flag certificate in 2019.
  • India’s CRZ laws do not allow the construction of infrastructure on beaches and islands.
    • However, the Blue Flag certification requires beaches to create infrastructures like portable toilet blocks, greywater treatment plants, a solar power plant, seating facilities, CCTV surveillance, etc.
  • The government notified that construction activities and facilities shall be permitted in the CRZs, including Islands, for the purpose of Blue Flag Certification in beaches.
    • However, these activities are subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL).

High Tide Line: HTL means the line on the land up to which the highest water line reaches during the spring tide.

Low Tide Line: Similarly, it means the line on the land up to which the lowest water line reaches during the spring tide.

Spring tides: The position of both the sun and the moon in relation to the earth has direct bearing on tide height. When the sun, the moon and the earth are in a straight line, the height of the tide will be higher. These are called spring tides and they occur twice a month, one on full moon period and another during new moon period.

Blue Flag Certification

  • It is an international recognition conferred on beaches that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety.
  • The ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an ‘eco-tourism model’ and marks out beaches as providing tourists and beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.
  • The Blue Flag Programme was started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987 and in areas outside Europe since 2001 when South Africa joined.
    • The Blue Flag Programme is run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) which is an international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation.
  • The certification is accorded by the Denmark-based Foundation for Environment Education, with 33 stringent criteria under four major heads for the beaches, that are-
    • Environmental Education and Information
    • Bathing Water Quality
    • Environment Management and Conservation
    • Safety and Services
  • Spain tops the list with 566 such beaches; Greece and France follow with 515 and 395 Blue Flag beaches, respectively.
  • Japan and South Korea are the only countries in the south and southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.

Source: TH

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