Twenty seven South African beaches have achieved the Blue Flag status for excelling in safety, cleanliness, provision of amenities and maintenance of environmental standards. The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to over 3 450 beaches and marinas in 41 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.
South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to implement the Blue Flag programme, which was launched in SA in November 2001 as part of government’s CoastCare initiative. The programme works towards sustainable development at beaches through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety among other things.
Blue Flag in South Africa has grown from only three beaches in the first year to 27 for this, the tenth year of the programme. “Growth has been significant and sustainable for most coastal municipalities and each year sees new beaches being introduced to the programme,” Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Thursday. The minister said that government, together with the industry, is continuously investing in tourism services and that the recent World Cup should motivate all concerned to continue to achieve the highest standards.
The beaches that received the Blue Flag accreditation in South Africa are:
– MacDougall’s Bay, Port Nolloth
– Yzerfontein Main beach, Yzerfontein
– Clifton 4th beach, Cape Town
– Camps Bay, Cape Town
– Muizenberg, Cape Town
– Strandfontein beach, Cape Town
– Mnandi Beach, Cape Town
– Bikini Beach, Gordon’s Bay
– Kleinmond Beach, near Hermanus
– Hawston Beach, near Hermanus
– Grotto Beach, Hermanus
– Lappiesbaai, Stilbaai, Southern Cape
– Witsand, at the mouth of the Breede River
– Santos Beach, Mossel Bay
– Hartenbos Beach, Mossel Bay
– Robberg 5 Beach, Plettenberg Bay
– Dolphin Beach, Jeffrey’s Bay
– Humewood Beach, Port Elizabeth
– Wells Estate, north of Port Elizabeth
– Kelly’s Beach, Port Alfred
– Kariega Main Beach, Kenton-on-Sea
– Umzumbe (Pumula) on the south coast KZN (new)
– Lucien Beach near Margate (back in the programme)
– Trafalgar Beach, south coast KZN
– Marina Beach, south coast KZN
– Ramsgate Beach, near Margate
– Margate Beach
Wildlife and Environment Society of SA Blue Flag Program Manager, Alison Kelly, said a challenge facing South African beaches is the need to manage damage caused by changing climatic conditions. “We are noticing slow deterioration in bathing water quality along most of the coast and this appears to be related to poor sewerage and storm water management within the broader catchment that leads to the beaches,” said Kelly.