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The blue flag campaign today flies in 13 different countries having started life in France in 1987. The European Blue Flag is awarded annually and is only valid for one year. First a national jury and then the European jury sort the applicants and award those eligible to receive the Blue Flag.
To be eligible for the Blue Flag a bathing beach must fulfill a number of criteria:
Water Quality (Beaches)
Beaches often fail to receive the Blue Flag because they do not meet the bathing water testing and quality requirements. Sample must be taken at least fortnightly and analysed for total and fecal coliform and fecal streptococci.
These Microbiological parameters are indicators of the possible presence of other human pathogens. Thus there are limits to how many of these organisms may be found in samples.
The beach and its immediate hinterland must comply with development plans and planning law. Marinas should exemplify good integration with both the natural and built environment.
Another important matter is that no industrial and sewage related discharges affect the water of the marina or the beach. Moreover, beaches must be kept clean of algae and other vegetation accumulation in stormy weather.
Environmental Education and Information
The blue flag campaign builds on environmental education and information.
Safety and Management
There must be enough litter bins and garbage containers, properly secured and maintained. First Aid must be available.