Blue Flag certification of beaches on GTDC’s agenda

GTDC really takes the cake for being able to find out all the possible dubious ways to make a quick buck. This time its about getting a Blue flag certification for our beaches.
We all the know the pathetic condition of our beaches today, we also know that certifications such as the one mentioned above can be bought at a price. This will be yet another case like our third rate Dabolim airport that gets awards despite being in a pathetic condition.
The ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MOEF) has asked the state government to identify a beach in Goa for ‘Blue Flag certification’. Under the Blue Flag programme, an international non-profit organization grants its certification to beaches and marinas that meet over 30 criteria related to water quality, environmental cleanliness and waste management, safety and other services.

A source said the issue was discussed at Goa Tourism Development Corporation’s (GTDC) board meeting last month, and it was suggested that a consultant be appointed to identify potential beaches, and accordingly, build facilities to pitch them for certification. In fact, Goa stands a chance to become the first state in the country to fly a blue flag.

Francisco Braganca, former president of the Travel and Tourism Association (TTAG), said, “So far, there is no beach in India that has been awarded Blue Flag certification. But it is an uphill task to obtain the certification.”

TTAG president Savio Messias said, “Blue Flag certification will surely help increase tourist footfalls. Many international travellers, before deciding on a holiday destination, check if the beaches there have Blue Flag certification.”

Messias said the image of “destination Goa” has taken a hit during the last few years because of litter on the beaches, but a Blue Flag certification will surely help increase its face value.

A tourism stakeholder, who did not wish to be identified, said, “Over the last few years, some of Goa’s beaches have deteriorated. The Calangute and Candolim beaches are worst hit.”

While pointing out that some of the beaches have become congested due to increased commercial activity, he said, “Adding to the chaos are private shacks. Some popular beach stretches have more private shacks than beach shacks, and some private shack operators at many beaches release sewerage into sea.”.