Sonapur Beach In Odisha’s Ganjam Gets Blue Flag Certification After Puri

Berhampur: The sea beach at Sonapur under Chikiti block of Ganjam district has become the second Blue Flag beach of Odisha after Puri.

Sonapur beach entered the coveted list after Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), an agency under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, applied for Blue Flag certification. The beach complies with all 33 stringent criteria mandated for the purpose.

The Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark accorded the blue flag status, said Sunny Khokhar, nodal officer and Divisional Forest officer (DFO), Berhampur. It is a part of a relentless journey towards building a sustainable environment, he said.

While the Tourism Department was funding and implementing the peripheral works like a gate, parking, pathway, the core work was being done by SICOM. Work was being supervised by the Beach Management Committee of Ganjam headed by the collector. While there are permanent buildings on Sonapur beach, bamboo is used as construction material for the temporary structures, sources said.

Sonapur is located on the confluence of Bahuda river and Bay of Bengal. It is one of the pristine and picturesque beaches. Blue beaches give a sense of pride to the local community and attract tourists.

The Tourism department has decided to develop four more beaches for the blue flag status including Haripur beach in Ganjam and Niladri, Muhana and Jahania beaches in Puri district.

The Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark accords the globally recognised eco-label Blue Flag certification to the cleanest beaches in the world. The mission of Blue Flag is to promote sustainability in the tourism sector through environmental education, environmental protection and other sustainable development practices, said the DFO.

The Blue Flag programme was initially started in Europe in 1987. The certification is awarded by an international jury comprising members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), besides FEE annually.

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