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Blue Flags take to the sky at City shores<span><p>(Note to editors: These are archive photographs that were taken before COVID-19)<br>Following a national audit of beaches submitted for assessment by each local municipality, WESSA used 33 criteria to determine if each beach meets the level of service excellence required for Blue Flag recognition. Each beach is measured in four categories: Environmental Education and Awareness, Water Quality, Environmental Management, and Safety Services. The individual criteria allow for an in-depth analysis of a variety of areas of competence, which include:</p><p>• Universal access (for the disabled, elderly and mothers with young children)<br>• Control of domestic animals (such as dogs on beaches)<br>• Availability of interpretive signage<br>• Effective waste management<br></p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:949px;" /> </figure></span><span><p><br>‘The City is pleased to once again receive this recognition. Being able to retain the status of all 10 Blue Flag beaches can be attributed to the work of our environmental staff, who have ensured the quality and cleanliness of these beaches have been consistently maintained. These spaces are especially important as we head into the summer months, enabling residents to enjoy nature and the ocean, while being able to safely social distance in line with COVID-19 regulations,’ said Executive Mayor Dan Plato. </p><p>‘Beaches are popular places to spend time with family and friends in the outdoors and to enjoy the summer weather. After months of restricted movement, it is expected that more people will flock to the City’s beaches this summer. The Western Cape Premier has also announced the resurgence of COVID-19 in the Cape Town metropole which will impact on the summer season. I urge all residents to adhere to the safety regulations when they are at our beaches and pools. We are also extremely proud that 10 of the City’s beaches once again ticked all the boxes and will be flying the flag of excellence,’ said the Mayoral Committee Member for Community Service and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.</p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:1898px;" /> </figure></span><span><p>The quality international standards which have been achieved at the ten beaches are critical drivers, which encourage the economic growth of the coastal areas. Residents and tourists can access a variety of leisure activities at these beaches. </p><p>Primarily, Blue Flag is an educational programme, designed to encourage participating municipalities to meet high environmental and international standards sustainably.</p><p>The City’s Recreation and Parks Department has driven implementation of community environmental education, with internal and external partners throughout the year. These programmes are a key consideration in preparation for Blue Flag submission and comprise of efforts to reduce litter and remove microplastics, teach the youth about kelp and caring for the sensitive biodiversity on the coastline, as well as wide distribution of educational materials on safe swimming areas and how to avoid rip currents.</p><p>On an operational level, much time has been invested in getting facilities ready to receive an influx of visitors for the season. At Camps Bay, an old asbestos roof has been replaced and in Muizenberg, the pavilion was re-painted.<br></p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:949px;" /> </figure></span><p>For water quality, an independent laboratory has been appointed. Working in conjunction with transversal teams and multiple processes within the City, they are currently monitoring the water quality at the beaches which are undergoing audits.</p><p>Also, as nature flourished during the lockdown period, much had to be done before the start of the season to manage dunes, control alien vegetation, manage animal populations and collect waste from beaches.</p><p>The following City beaches have qualified to fly the Blue Flag this season, announced at an official ceremony by WESSA in Kwa-Zulu Natal this morning:</p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">Bikini Beach </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Camp’s Bay </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Clifton fourth beach </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Fish Hoek </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Llandudno </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Melkbosstrand </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Mnandi </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Muizenberg </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Strandfontein </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Silwerstroom</div></li></ul><p>In addition to the 10 beaches that received Blue Flag status the City of Cape Town received  a  special 10 year award recognition for Silwerstroom strand.</p><p>The Blue Flag Season will run from 1 December 2020 to 31 January 2021 for Bikini Beach, Clifton Fourth beach,  Fish Hoek, Llandudno,  Melkbosstrand, Mnandi and Silwerstroom.</p><p>Camps Bay, Muizenberg and Strandfontein will have an extended season until 31 March 2021. The Blue Flag applicable times at all of these beaches is from 10:00 to 18:00 daily.</p><p>‘We would like to congratulate the Recreation and Parks Department and all of the teams who worked tirelessly to once again achieve an exceptional milestone. For many years now, the City has boasted the most Blue Flag beaches with full status in South Africa. Blue Flag is an excellent opportunity to attract international travellers, boost the economy and offers locals a beautiful place to enjoy this Festive Season,’ said Councillor Badroodien.</p><p>The City plans lifeguard deployment for the coastline annually in line with the school holiday dates. Lifeguard deployment is operational at City beaches and tidal pools. The Recreation and Parks Department will also implement its Drowning Prevention Plan. Lifeguards will be on duty daily, from 10:00 until 18:00, until 12 April 2021.</p><p>Beaches were officially opened under the national lockdown Alert Level 2 in August this year. The City of Cape Town is experiencing a resurgence of Coronavirus infections and residents are urged to take all safety protocols seriously and adhere to them.</p><p><strong>Safety on beaches is paramount and the City would once again like to make beachgoers aware of the following beach safety tips:</strong></p><p><strong>Do</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">Make sure you know how to swim before swimming in the sea.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Swim between the red and yellow flags, as these areas are patrolled by lifeguards.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Identify an easy-to-find place where you can meet if anyone gets lost or separated.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Stay hydrated. Watch out for signs of dehydration such as red, dry skin, rapid/weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing.</div></li></ul><p><strong>Don’ts</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">Don’t drink alcohol before you swim as it impairs your judgement.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Don’t dive into unfamiliar water as there may be rocks or other dangers.</div></li></ul><p><strong>What to do when you get caught in a rip current:</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">Don’t panic.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Don’t try to swim straight back to the shore against the current as this will exhaust you.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Try to tread water or turn on your back and float (rip tides get weaker as they go further out).</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Raise one arm in the air and wave for help to alert people on the beach that you are in trouble.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Swim parallel to the beach, out of the current, and then use waves to help you get back to the beach.</div></li></ul><p>The City urges visitors to the beach to only swim where and when lifeguards are on duty, between their red and yellow flags designating safe bathing areas and adhere to all safety protocols.</p><p>‘Although it has been an extraordinary and challenging year, we know that if we work together these challenges can be overcome. Caring for our beaches is a shared responsibility and I would like to request everyone who visits our beaches to assist officials in keeping them clean, to adhere strictly to the safety protocols and to report any anti-social behaviour,’ added Cllr Badroodien.</p><p>Residents and visitors can find a comprehensive range of public safety messages at <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p><br><strong>End</strong><br></p><span>​​</span><span>​​</span><span>​​</span>2020-11-26T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#ff0b55f9-77e2-44c8-8ba0-61504af16684;L0|#0ff0b55f9-77e2-44c8-8ba0-61504af16684|Beach;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#39f788d9-db75-45e2-88bb-ebee25880577;L0|#039f788d9-db75-45e2-88bb-ebee25880577|Blue flag beaches;GP0|#dfe312c6-6aee-4634-9fac-10a95642c844;L0|#0dfe312c6-6aee-4634-9fac-10a95642c844|lifesaving10


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