Eight Indian beaches that were recommended by the government, have all been awarded the International Blue Flag Certification. India is the first nation to have been awarded the eco-label for 8 beaches in a single attempt, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said. The eminent international jury comprises members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The beaches selected for the certification are: Kappad (Kerala), Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands). According to Indian Express, The ‘Blue Flag’ is a certification that can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator, and serves as an eco-label. The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education, which sets stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria that applicants must meet and maintain. The report further states that it is awarded annually to beaches and marinas in FEE member countries. The Blue Flag programme was started in France in 1985 and in areas out of Europe in 2001. The programme promotes sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas through four main criteria: water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. Besides India, Japan, South Korea and UAE have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches in Asia. India has also been awarded the third prize by the jury under the "International Best Practices" for pollution control in coastal regions
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