Odisha’s Sunapur gets Blue Flag certification for 2023-24

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Berhampur (Odisha), Jan 31 (PTI) The Sunapur beach in Odisha's Ganjam district has achieved the prestigious Blue Flag certification for 2023-24 from the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark, a nonprofit international agency.

This recognition makes Sunapur the second Blue Flag beach in Odisha, following Puri, which received the status in October 2020.

The Blue Flag designation signifies an eco-tourism model aimed at providing beachgoers with clean and hygienic bathing facilities, a safe environment, and sustainable development practices.

Awarded to coastal communities worldwide, the Blue Flag designation aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, emphasizing the importance of environmental conservation, responsible tourism practices, and the promotion of clean and safe beach environments.

This acknowledgment underscores the efforts of coastal areas to uphold stringent environmental standards and contribute to the broader goals of sustainability and environmental protection.

Acknowledging this achievement, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik highlighted the significance of this globally recognised eco-label in promoting cleanliness and tourist-friendly amenities, thereby enhancing tourism in the region.

"Glad to share that #Sunapur Beach in #Ganjam, one of the picturesque beaches of #Odisha has received the prestigious #Blue Flag certification from @FEEInt. This globally recognized eco-label, by ensuring stringent environmental standards, cleanliness, and tourist-friendly amenities will further boost tourism#OdishaLeads” wrote Patnaik on X on Monday.

Situated at the confluence of the Bahuda River and the Bay of Bengal, approximately 30km from Berhampur, Sunapur Beach exemplifies both natural beauty and sustainable coastal tourism practices.

Covering an area of 800 metres, Sunapur Blue Flag Beach offers various facilities, including specially designed wheelchairs for differently abled individuals, zero liquid waste discharge, lifeguard towers, trained paramedic staff, and CCTV and solar lighting systems.

It is managed by the district beach management committee, headed by the Ganjam collector, said Sunny Khokhar, nodal officer and divisional forest officer (DFO), Berhampur.

The certification process involved meeting 33 different criteria across four major categories, including environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environment management and conservation, safety, and beach services.

The development of Sunapur Beach began in 2021 and was completed in 2023 under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZMP) of the Odisha government.

Additionally, the government plans to enhance four more beaches, including Niladri in Puri district, Gopalpur in Ganjam district, and Talasari-Udayapur in Balasore district, to meet international standards and obtain the Blue Flag designation.

The Blue Flag Programme, originating in France in 1985, aims to acknowledge environmentally responsible beaches worldwide. PTI COR AAM AAM MNB

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