Golden Beach, Puri, received the coveted Blue Flag certification last month. The prestigious Blue Flag status to beaches is granted by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This status can only be earned when as many as 33 guidelines on cleanliness, tourist-friendly amenities and eco-friendly environment set by the FEE are met by the concerned beach. Having said that, this was only possible because of the immense efforts put up by the Puri District Administration along with massive local support in initiating campaigns, cleanliness drives and other programmes for the past one-and-a-half years.
With tourist in-flow increasing at a rapid manner over the past few years, it was imperative for the Puri District Administration to take steps for the prevention of solid waste disposal, especially on the beaches. A beach clean-up campaign named ‘MoBeach’ (meaning My Beach), was launched by the Puri District Administration, dedicated exclusively for keeping the beaches super-clean throughout the entire district of Puri. The MoBeach campaign successfully instilled a sense of ownership and belongingness amongst the locals and visitors alike. It also motivated them to keep the beaches clean and help the authorities maintain the hygiene and cleanliness of the beaches as well as preserve its aesthetics and entire environmental balance. This campaign was implemented across Puri’s entire beachline covering 13 Gram Panchayats (GPs), 1 Notified Area Committee (NAC) and 1 municipality.
The Puri District Administration in collaboration with various local organizations, identified and located the target areas for carrying out the MoBeach campaign. Beaches having easy access to the public, beaches which are unclean, beaches where open defecation is noticed, beaches with vehicular access, beaches with activities like adventure sports, and areas declared environmentally sensitive, were some of the key factors kept in mind while selecting the target areas for the campaign. Each and every area under the GPs, NAC and municipality are provided with more than 100 volunteers from either the BYV or the concerned locality for the clean-up campaign. Proper machinery support like excavators, bulldozers and tractors along with safety masks, gloves, brooms, etc. are provided to the volunteers by the GPs or other local urban bodies.
Various officers from different government departments, agencies and local bodies constitute a steering committee which review the cleanliness drive and activities associated with it under the MoBeach Campaign. Every new clean-up drive has a budget of Rs. 5000 for covering recurring expenses such as masks, gloves, transportation and labour support, etc. The campaign was temporarily stopped due to the pandemic, but was resumed on September 13, 2020 with fresh zeal and enthusiasm. On October 17, 2020, the Puri District Administration organized the ‘Mo Beach Yoga’ – an activity for the sole purpose of promoting healthy lifestyle and wellness tourism through yoga and environment education among the public. The most unique and special thing about this initiative was that more than 200 Covid-19 survivors participated in this event, which saw 10 yoga instructors working across 10 platforms along the entire beachline following proper Covid-19 guidelines.
All these initiatives and campaigns equipped with the fact that the Golden Beach in Puri is now Blue Flag certified, will only elevate the expectations of tourists from all over the world who come to visit the beautiful and tempting beaches of Puri. Surely, the beaches won’t disappoint!
By Odisha Tourism
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