Ten city beaches win world-class blue flags in run-up to festive season
TEN OF Cape Town’s beaches will fly the blue flag this summer, with the city once again boasting the highest number of these acclaimed beaches in the country.
As part of the National Blue Flag Programme, co-ordinated by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa), blue-flag status was awarded to the 10 yesterday.
“The city is incredibly proud that 10 of our beaches have been awarded blue flag status, along with the pilot beach of Seaforth,” said Anda Ntsodo, the city’s mayoral committee member for community services.
Ntsodo said, however, the hard work was just beginning to ensure these beaches continued to meet the strict requirements associated with the eco-label.
The addition of a pilot blueflag status for Seaforth Beach, near Simon’s Town, meant the beach would be considered for full blue-flag status if certain criteria were met within a specified time.
“We are preparing for December 1, which is the start of the blue-flag season,” Ntsodo said.
The beaches with full blueflag status for the upcoming 2016/17 summer season are Silwerstroomstrand, Melkbosstrand, Clifton 4th Beach, Camps Bay, Llandudno, Fish Hoek, Muizenberg, Strandfontein, Mnandi and Bikini Beach.
The city’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities depart- ment, with other departments, worked hard to ensure the city’s beaches were clean, safe and fun for holidaymakers.
“And we trust the popularity of our beaches will continue to grow.”
Some of the preparations under way included con- ducting maintenance and upgrades to facilities, ensuring that the environmental integrity of sites was intact, placing lifeguards on duty to patrol these beaches, sampling the water for quality control purposes – which would resume soon – dune rehabilitation, alien vegetation eradication, and conducting some of the compulsory blue-flag environmental education programmes.
The city has successfully participated in the Blue Flag Beach Programme since its inception in South Africa in 2001 and has long led the coun- try in achieving world-class standards for beaches.
Ntsodo said the festive season was the busiest, with an average of more than one million visitors annually.
“It is no easy feat to manage beach facilities with such high numbers, but the city works hard to keep them clean,” Ntsodo added.
The blue flag is an international accreditation awarded to beaches that display excellence through meeting 33 criteria covering four categories. These include environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services.
Participation in this international programme is voluntary and the status indicates the beaches all have their own environmental education programmes, have bathing water of the highest standard, 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 national Tourism Department funds the Tourism Blue Flag Project, which is a national employment creation programme that will employ 50 extra people to work on the blue-flag beaches.
Fish Hoek beach is among the 10 blue-flag beaches in Cape Town this summer.
Seaforth beach near Simon’s Town has pilot status and is in line for full blue-flag status.
Strandfontein beach flies the blue flag.