Greece proves once again that its beaches and bathing waters are among the best in Europe. Like last year, the country was awarded 327 “European Blue Flags” for its clean, environmentally rich beaches from the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe.
The national operator for the European clean beach awards, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, said that all eight Greek marinas that participated in the contest adhered to the 16 strict conditions (27 for beaches) set down by the European foundation that heads the program. A total of 350 applications were received from Greek beach properties.
Each successful community applicant has the right to fly the flag on its beach or marina property from June 1 to the end of October. At that time, the flag, which is recyclable, must be returned to the foundation. The campaign is an award scheme that targets local authorities that manage coastal areas for recreation and tourism. The program uses a total of 27 criteria -there were 26 last year- which are under continued development and evaluation.
Local authorities that wish to participate in the program must show how they work with environment management and how they distribute information and education on their coastal resources. For 2001, completed applications must reach the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature’s office in down-town Athens or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Greek society says that most problems occur not because on any deficiency in the candidates’ beach, but rather in their problem to have water samples tested every 15 days as required. The European foundation spot-checks at least 5% of all blue flag winners to ensure each adheres to every criteria.
The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature was established more that 50 years ago. It’s a non- profit organization that works to promote environmental education in Europe.