The City of Cape Town’s application for Blue Flag status for six of its beaches for this season has been successful. This places the City at the top of the ranks, along with the Hibiscus Municipality which also received six Blue Flags.
The results were announced yesterday, 28 October, at an awards ceremony in Mossel Bay.
The following beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status, for 1 December 2010 to 31 March 2011: Clifton Fourth, Muizenberg, Mnandi, Camps Bay, Bikini, and Strandfontein.
The City was also granted pilot Blue Flag status for another two of its beaches, namely Llandudno and Silwerstroom. Pilot Blue Flag beaches are beaches which will be considered for full Blue Flag status if certain criteria are met within a specified period of time.
Blue Flag status is an internationally recognised standard of excellence awarded, according to blueflag.org, to about 3 450 beaches and marinas in over 41 countries across Europe and the Caribbean, in South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand and Canada.
This year, 27 South African beaches across 11 coastal municipalities received the award. The Blue Flag Programme is owned and run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) – an independent non-profit organisation. The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa manages the Blue Flag process in South Africa.
In order to achieve Blue Flag status, beaches must excel in the fields of safety, cleanliness, provision of amenities and maintenance of environmental standards. This voluntary eco-label requires that beaches meet 32 criteria spanning four aspects of coastal management: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services.
The status indicates that the beaches are clean, have adequate ablution facilities and parking, are environmentally sound, are safe and secure to visit, and adhere to international safety and tourism standards. The accreditation is awarded for one season at a time, and if conditions change at the beach, it can be withdrawn.
Not all beaches in Cape Town have Blue Flag status – but this is not a negative reflection on the beach concerned. The Blue Flag serves merely as a monitoring tool to assist the City in maintaining already-high standards.
“The City is very pleased at this acknowledgement of its commitment to maintaining world-class beaches. This is especially encouraging going into the festive season, and we are sure that Capetonians and visitors will enjoy all of the City’s beautiful beaches,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Brett Herron.