Five Blue Flags for South Coast – South Coast Herald

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Five Blue Flags for South Coast – South Coast Herald

Update
Phoenix Durban

Founder Mbongo of Emithuntaneni Lifeguards proud of Southport Beach which has earned its Blue Flag beach status again this year. PHOTO BY SHONA AYLWARD

There will be five Blue Flag beaches and two pilot beaches for the South Coast as of November 1.
A total of 64 Blue Flags will be flown at 45 beaches around South Africa over the forthcoming 2019/20 South African Blue Flag season.
The coast’s five beaches that can proudly fly the blue flag are Marina Beach, Trafalgar, Southport, Umzumbe and Hibberdene.
Marina Beach has held blue flag status for 18 consecutive years, followed by Trafalgar for 11, Umzumbe for 10, Southport for eight and Hibberdene for five.
The announcement of the Blue Flag beaches was made at the National WESSA Blue Flag launch at the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town last week.
The Blue Flag programme also allows for potential Blue Flag sites to participate in its pilot programme.
Founder Mbongo of Emithuntaneni Lifeguards proud of Southport Beach which has earned its Blue Flag beach status again this year. PHOTO BY SHONA AYLWARD
This year will see 35 pilot beaches, which includes Ramsgate and Lucien beaches, on this development phase of the programme. WESSA will work with beach managers from these pilot beaches, towards the long-term goal of achieving full Blue Flag status.
Part of this support includes the provision of tourism beach stewards to these beaches, over the busiest holiday periods.
Councillor Dave Watson said the Ramsgate pilot status was an unfortunate victim of coincidence.

“There is a complicated system of samples evaluated throughout the year and the requirements are stringent. We support that high standard. On a few of the days when samples were taken, our results were marginally non-compliant. Immediate follow-up samples were then compliant. Whilst these were factored in the evaluation, the result was that we did not meet the formula percentages and hence WESSA gave notice of the removal of Blue Flag status based on this one criterion. We met all the other standards,” he said.
Cllr Watson praised Ray Nkonyeni Municipality officials who decided to immediately apply for pilot status.
He explained that this means we stay in the programme, fly the flag with the only adjustment being that we are a pilot beach for the next 12 months.
“Same standards, same compliance oversight etc. The water at Ramsgate beach is well known for its healthy quality and last year’s sequence of sampling and evaluation was simply an unfortunate set of coincidences that could not be adjusted for in the technical evaluation.”
To achieve Blue Flag status, as many as 33 different criteria spanning over four themes of coastal management must be met and maintained: These are water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services.
Each Blue Flag site is compelled to conduct several environmental education activities during the year and to practise effective and efficient conservation management.
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