India leads in Cleanliness Drive at its Beaches
India is endowed with magnificent coastlines, with lovely beaches. Their cleanliness and maintenance is a vital task, a task which is the joint responsibility of the governments of the concerned states, union territories and local municipal authorities.
The Modi government, over the last 5 years, has given adequate attention in this regard through the nodal Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change.
The Ministry organised an intensive beach cleaning-cum-awareness drive named ‘Swachh-Nirmal Tat Abhiyan’ from 11th to 17th November 2019 at 50 beaches in 10 coastal States/UTs, namely Gujarat, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.
Another event was organized during the ICONIC week of 75th Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in October 2021 at beaches at Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghogha (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha), Radhanagar (Andaman and Nicobar) and Eden (Puducherry).
The drive witnessed voluntary participation of students, public representatives, officials, civil society organisations etc. Mass awareness campaigns, quiz about the importance of protection and conservation of coastal resources and Marine ecosystems.
Under the Beach Environment & Aesthetic Management Service (BEAMS) Programme initiated by this Ministry, various activities on pollution abatement, beach beautification, awareness programme on environment education and safety & surveillance are implemented.
10 beaches situated in 6 States and 3 Union Territories have been developed at par with best international beaches with safety and ecologically sustainable infrastructure, acceptable bathing water quality, self -sustaining energy supply and environmentally sound services management measures. These beaches have been conferred with internationally recognized Blue Flag Certification for FY 2021-22.
At these Blue Flag Beaches, five environmental awareness campaigns are organized annually, covering themes like (i)Importance of Marine Pollution Abatement (ii) Conservation & Preservation of Beach Ecosystem (iii) Coastal Biodiversity and its Interdependency (iv) Blue flag & Sustainable Development Goals and (v) Beach Safety Measures.
The Blue Flag beaches are:
This beach is located in Tamil Nadu. It also was known as Covelong beach earlier. It is situated in a small fishing village called Covelong in the Kanchipuram district about 40 kilometres away from Chennai. It has the perfect ambience for “surfing”, and is known to be one of the few spots in the eastern coast where windsurfing can be undertaken.
Eden Beach (Puducherry)
The Eden Beach in Puducherry is not-so-known to tourists. It got a Blue Flag certification in 2019. It’s located in between two tourist spots – The Arts and Crafts Village and The Paradise beach. With an array of coconut tree plantations, Eden gives you a Kerala-like vibe. At sunset, the visual is a never-seen-before experience. The constant colour-changing sky, cleanliness and the pristine blue Bay of Bengal are a surreal combination. Some of the attractions of the beach include sit-out umbrella huts, watchtower, amphitheatre, scuba diving, children’s play area, fitness equipment, and backwaters.
Golden Beach (Odisha)
The Puri Beach aka Golden Beach is located in Puri. Best known for the annual Puri Beach Festival, the authorities also host sand art displays, including works by award-winning sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik. It is called Golden Beach because of a stretch of fine golden sand, dotted with stalls selling seafood and snacks. Another attractive feature of this magnificent beach is that the world famous Jagannath Temple is is close by. The clean, choppy waters and cleanliness at the beach are really impressive.
Shivrajpur Beach (Gujarat)
Located almost 12 kms from Dwarka, the Shivrajpur Beach is ideal for a long walk. This Blue Flag certified beach is the best location to spend a weekend with family and kids. You can spot a dolphin or some beautiful birds, too. Other must-visit coastal sites near Dwarka are Okha Madhi for its fine sands and Poshitara for its coral reefs and marine life.
Kappad Beach (Kerala)
If you visit Kozhikode, it’s unlikely for you to return without a visit to the Kappad Beach, which is almost 16kms away from the city. It’s believed that over 500 years ago, in 1498, 170 men led by Vasco- da-Gama first stepped on to Kerala on this shore. A walk around the place gives you an idea of its historical relevance. The shacks here are always stocked with local delicacies and tea. You can take a boat ride, swim in the backwaters or play beach games with friends or family. Taking a houseboat cruise down the river to Kappad adds charm to your beach tour. The beach is long and its sandy stretches are quiet and peaceful.
Ghoghla Beach (Diu)
The Ghoghla Beach is 15kms from Diu, and is the largest beach of the UT. It has golden sands and clear water throughout the year. Ghoghla offers ergonomically designed bio-toilet blocks, changing rooms and recreational amenities such as an open gymnasium, and parks for children. Parasailing, surfing, banana boat rides and water scooters are the most popular adventure activities at the beach.
Kasarkod Beach (Karnataka)
The Kasarkod Beach was developed by Karnataka’s forest and tourism departments to encourage eco-tourism in the state. The beach stretches up to a distance of five kilometers and it is covered in white sand.
Radhanagar Beach (Andaman & Nicobar Islands)
The Radhanagar Beach is one of the most famous attractions in Havelock Island in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. In 2004, the Time Magazine named it the best beach in Asia and the seventh best in the world. The emerald blue waters invite you to take a dip almost immediately. There are huts, benches, and chairs scattered around the beach that help you relax. A USP of this beach is that you are allowed to take food and water inside.
Rushikonda Beach (Andhra Pradesh)
Situated at around 8kms from Visakhapatnam, the Rushikonda Beach is known for its golden sands and tidy waves of the Bay of Bengal. Surrounded by green plants, the beach also attracts nature lovers. You can enjoy water sports like swimming, water skiing and surfing there. The cottages and restaurants around the beach built by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism department also attract tourists.
Padubidri Beach (Karnataka)
The Padubidri beach is located in the Udupi district of Karnataka. Besides taking a stroll in the evening or watching the sunset, one can also indulge in water sports and adventure rides at this not-so-crowded beach.
It may be noted that to get Blue Flag certification, the beaches need to fulfil 33 stringent criteria. That India has 10 such beaches is a matter of great pride. What is more, India is now aiming at achieving the certification for 100 more beaches.