Ten city beaches win world-class blue flags in run-up to fes­tive sea­son

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WEEK­END AR­GUS RE­PORTER

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.

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