Coast KZN

11 Nov 2022

WESSA awards 51 Blue Flags to South African beaches, marinas and tourism boats

Dominic Naidoo (IOL) Picture: WESSA Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa Facebook. WESSA’s Blue Flag Programme has established itself as the most recognised coastal eco-label in the country.

The annual WESSA Blue Flag Awards ceremony took place at Lookout Beach in Plettenberg Bay on November 3. The event was hosted by the Bitou Municipality and the Plett Tourism Association.

WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), in recognition of South African beaches’ excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards, awarded 57 Blue Flags that will be proudly flown at 51 beaches, four marinas and two tourism boats across South Africa during the upcoming 2022/23 Blue Flag season.

In his opening address, councillor David Swart said “the fact that the Blue Flag is voluntary shows commitment to environmental sustainability from the municipalities that participate in the programme”.  WESSA said that the awards also allow for potential Blue Flag sites to participate in a pilot programme. Twenty pilot sites were recognised this year for working towards meeting the minimum requirements for Blue Flag status.

There were also three beaches that received certificates for being awarded Blue Flag status for 10 consecutive years. These are Preekstoel Beach in Hessequa, De Bakke Beach in Mossel Bay and King’s Beach in Nelson Mandela Bay.

WESSA’s Blue Flag Programme has established itself as the most recognised coastal eco-label in the country and continues to grow into new coastal tourism regions. The organisation is committed to continuing working together with municipalities and tourism operators to build the Blue Flag programme to its full potential.

According to WESSA, a Blue Flag Award is a world-renowned eco-label trusted by millions of people around the globe. The mission of Blue Flag is to promote sustainability in the tourism sector through environmental education, environmental protection and other sustainable development practices.

Thanks to Blue Flag and its partnerships, more than 4 500 beaches, marinas and tourism boats are concretely contributing to the sustainable development goals. Blue Flag also campaigns against disparity, inequality, unemployment, health threats, depletion of natural resources, environmental threats, pollution and general environmental degradation.

To achieve Blue Flag status, as many as 33 criteria spanning four themes of coastal management must be met and maintained. These are water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services. Each Blue Flag site is compelled to conduct several environmental education activities during the year and to practise effective and efficient conservation management.

In South Africa, the Blue Flag programme is managed by WESSA and participating coastal municipalities. In the southern hemisphere, the Blue Flag season runs from December 1 to October 31 each year.