Blue Flag glory for South Coast
KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environment Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, with Tourism...
Two eThekweni beaches received Blue Flag awards on Friday while not a single KwaDukuza beach was mentioned. (From left) Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, DA Councillor Geoff Pullan, Bruce Blake and the CEO of WESSA Dr Thommie Burger.
The only beach on the Dolphin Coast to be awarded the coveted Blue Flag status by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) last week, Westbrook Beach is now the standard all local beaches need to aim towards.
Not a single KwaDukuza beach received a mention.
The celebrated award is for beaches that meet strict standards for water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management criteria and is regarded as a tourist draw-card.
One other eThekwini beach – uShaka – bagged the award and six others were awarded Pilot Blue Flag status – uMgababa, Amanzimtoti, Brighton, uMhlanga main, uMdloti main and uMdloti tidal pool.
Pilot status is like an apprenticeship and can be converted to full status after a year or two.
Overall fifty-eight Blue Flags will be flown at coastal sites around South Africa over the forthcoming 2016/17 South African Blue Flag season.
The 2016/17 Blue Flag awards were presented by the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom and the CEO of WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), Dr Thommie Burger on Friday October 7 in Ray Nkonyeni Municipality at Marina Beach on the KZN south coast.
The announcement of the 2016 International Blue Flag Jury results revealed that a total of 45 South African beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status this year, along with five marinas and eight sustainable tourism boats.
The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites in SA with 29 beaches, all eight boats and four of the five Blue Flag marinas falling in the province.
KZN has nine Blue Flag beaches for the 2016/17 season – two in eThekweni and the remaining seven all in Ray Nkonyeni Municipality (south coast).
Seven beaches and one marina have been awarded this eco-label in the Eastern Cape.
An additional 22 beaches across the three provinces have been given Pilot Blue Flag status – an important developmental stage for potential Blue Flag sites, during which WESSA works with beach managers towards the longer term goal of achieving Full Status.
Internationally, almost 4300 beaches, boats and marinas have been awarded Blue Flag status for the 2016/17 season.
DA Councillor Geoff Pullan told The Courier, “As a long-time Blue Flag driver in our city, I was delighted to receive the Blue Flags with Bruce Blake from the Parks and Beaches department.”
“Now it’s up to all of us in the municipality – officials and residents alike – to maintain the high standards required by Blue Flag for our beaches. Tourism and the jobs that go with it, are really important for our city.”