The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to beaches and marinas. The Blue Flag has become an internationally recognized symbol of quality around the world. Today, more than 4200 beaches and marinas in 49 countries across Europe, Africa, New Zealand, South America, Canada and the Caribbean has been awarded with the Blue flag.
Blue Flag is internationally awarded to beaches and marinas that excel in the following topics: education and information, water quality, safety and environmental management and services. The Blue Flag, as symbol of excellence, is recognized by tourists and professionals and helps to promote tourism.
The Blue Flag goals are to raise environmental awareness among the beach users, the communities surrounding the beach and among beach operators; as well as to encourage good environmental management. The program is aimed at working together with all coastal area stakeholders: the different governmental departments, local authorities and the communities living in the vicinity of coastal areas.
On the subject of education and information, a Blue Flag beach has to offer environmental activities to the community and publish information on the ecosystems surrounding the beach, the services provided at the beach and a unified code of conduct.
Regarding water quality, a Blue Flag beach must meet the requirements of both chemical and physical parameters and the requirements for sampling frequency (at least five sampling per season).
On the subject of environmental management, a Blue Flag beach must meet requirements on issues such as waste, recycling, vehicle driving ban, un-authorized camping and animals on the beach.
Regarding safety and services, a Blue Flag beach must properly maintain its facilities, provide an adequate number of lifeguards and rescue equipment, conduct a risk assessment plan and offer at least one beach per municipality that is accessible to the disabled.
Although being awarded a Blue Flag requires commitment and hard work, the award holds many advantages: it promotes the beach and its services in a simple, clear, and internationally recognized manner, it enhances environmental awareness and management within the municipalities and among the beach operators workforce. In addition, the Blue Flag promotes environmental education, tourism and it will positively leverage businesses around the beach. The Blue Flag program will help establish Israel as costal-tourism nation. Finally, Blue Flag reflects positively on the municipality running the program.
The most important advantage is the environmental value that the Blue Flag program will convey. Authorities accept, with no obligation, strict criteria and work hard trying to assimilate principles of environmental thinking into their system. This is the advantage that Israel will enjoy years to come.
Blue Flag in Israel
In 2013, the first year of the Blue Flag program in Israel, 9 beaches and 2 marinas raised their flags.
In 2014, an additional 12(!) beaches joined the program increasing the number of Blue Flag beaches to 21. The Sea of Galilee also joined the program with its first beach.
4 beaches and 1 marina joined the program in 2015 bathing season raising the number to 28 sites.
In 2016-17, 36 beaches and 3 marinas were awarded the Blue Flag:
Sea of Galilee- Amnon beach
Haifa: Kiryat Haim (3 Beaches) Dado north, Dado centre, The students beach, Zamir north, Zamir centre, Zamir south
Netanya: Sanz, Ha’onot, Amphi, Herzl, Sironit north, Sironit south, Lagoon Poleg and Poleg south beach
Herzliya: Acadia north, Acadia centre, Tzok south, Tzok centre, Tel Baruh and Zvolon
Tel Aviv: Metzizim, Jerusalem, Frishman, Gordon, Charls klor and Givat Aliya Beach
Rishon LeZion: Hakahol (Blue beach), Hofit, Neve Hof, Tel Yona, Kids beach and Hanifrad Beach.
Ashdod: Mey Ami, Oranim, Lido, Hakshatot, Separate, Rivyera and Yod Alef Beach
Ashkelon: Bar kohva
Eilat: Hashhafim and Hanifrad
Tel Aviv & Herzliya Marina