Blue flag beaches in full swing again

Photographed with the coveted Blue Flag at Santos Beach are, from left to right, Mr Abrie Nel, Head of Parks and Recreation, the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira, Mr Colin Puren, Director of Community Services, and the Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz.

Mossel Bay’s two Blue Flag beaches,S antos and Hartenbos, are in full swing for the summer season again and both have drawn large numbers of visitors since 1 December 2011 when the Blue Flag season opened.

The season opened with the hoisting of a Blue Flag above Santos Beach by the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira last Thursday. This is the third Blue Flag season for Santos and Hartenbos. The beaches are operated as Blue Flag beaches from 09:00 to 17:00 every day.

The full range of Blue Flag services, such as lifesavers, cleaning services and other activities are only offered between these hours. Because of the high cost and logistics involved beaches aregenerally operated as Blue Flag beaches for a limited season. The majority ofSouth Africa’s approximately 30 Blue Flag beaches are operated as such for only two to three months per year.

A third beach, De Bakke is operated as a Blue Flag pilot project for the 2011/2012 season that will end on 31 January 2012. The goal is to achieve Blue Flag status for De Bakke in the 2012/2013 season.

Blue Flag status is a coveted international quality status and to qualify a beach must adhere to 29 criteria which are laid down by international Blue Flag organisation. Water quality is one of the most important criteria and Blue Flag inspectors visit the beaches regularly during the season to ensure that the standards are maintained at all times.

The Blue Flag programme is followed in more than 40 countries and there are more than 4 000 beaches worldwide that have Blue Flag status.

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