from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE KwaZulu-Natal South Coast has retained its status as having the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches in the province.
In addition, two KZN South Coast beaches have been noted for their longevity in the programme, which started in 2001.
Marina Beach has retained Blue Flag status since the programme’s inception, for 22 consecutive years, and Trafalgar Beach for 12 consecutive years.
The KZN South Coast also has seven beaches in the Blue Flag Pilot programme, indicating continued commitment to conservation, health and safety.
Phelisa Mangcu, Chief Executive Officer of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE), expressed delight.
She said this underlines the South Coast as a premier seaside destination that takes environmental conservation and bather safety seriously.
With tourism the lifeblood of the local economy, SCTIE pledged to continue to position the South Coast as a top coastal destination, supporting local job creation and ensuring the region’s economic viability.
“We welcome this announcement, particularly ahead of our busiest time, the festive season!” Mangcu said.
Beaches that have achieved the international certification of Blue Flag have adhered to the Foundation for Environmental Education’s (FEE) standards of environmental management.
These standards relate to water quality, safety and public environmental education.
All properties and companies that apply for the Blue Flag award are assessed by a South African National Jury as well as by the Blue Flag International Jury in Europe.
In South Africa, the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa(WESSA) has been locally managing this globally recognised eco-label in partnership FEE since 2001.
According to WESSA, the Blue Flag is a voluntary programme which shows a very strong commitment to environmental sustainability from municipalities that are awarded.
“It takes great dedication and effort to manage a beach or marina to meet the rigorous standards set out for this prestigious award, and we extend our warmest congratulations to all the deserving sites that have achieved the eco-labels,” Helena Atkinson, WESSA CEO, said.
– CAJ News