The Blue Flag Program: “Is That Caribbean Beach Clean?”

Ilona Kauremsky (Toronto Sun) writes about The Blue Flag Program. Run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), it helps monitor water cleanliness worldwide.

The Copenhagen-based non-profit organization currently reports there are 3,849 beaches and marinas in 46 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean and more that have been awarded Blue Flag status.

The process to get the prestigious designation is quite involved. The beach needs to meet 32 criteria involving environmental education, water quality, safety and environmental management. When it comes to monitoring water quality, five issues are examined. The beach must fully comply with water-quality sampling and frequency requirements. And the beach area must be unaffected by industrial, waste-water or sewage-related discharges.

In the Caribbean, six island nations currently have Blue Flag beaches. Jamaica has eight Blue Flag beaches and one Blue Flag marina—six are in Negril (Coco La Palm, Couples Negril, Couples Swept Away, Long Bay Beach Park, Merrils One and Merrils Two).

In December, four U.S. Virgin Islands beaches received certification. Blue Flags are now raised on St. Thomas as Lindbergh Bay’s Emerald Beach Resort and Great Bay’s Ritz Carlton. St. John’s Trunk Bay has Blue Flag status, as well as St. Croix’s Palms at Pelican Cove Beach Resort.

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