A total of 74 bathing areas and two marinas have been awarded the Blue Flag this year, a significant achievement that bestows added value to Cyprus tourism and promotes the principles of sustainability and ecology, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the Blue Flag award ceremony organised in Ayia Napa by the local municipality, Ayia Napa Marina and Cymepa – the Cyprus Marine Protection Association, which is the local representative of the Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education which runs the world-renowned eco-label.
To qualify for this prestigious award, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety- and access-related criteria must be met and maintained.
Kadis noted that the annual survey of bathing waters by the EU monitors how well public health and environmental rules are adhered to, allowing members of the public to make informed choices as to where they choose to swim.
The programme was brought to Cyprus by Cymepa, as president of the national judge for the Blue Flag, of which the environment service of the agriculture ministry is an active member, Kadis said.
Through the environment service, the ministry is responsible for the implementation of the law on the quality of bathing waters, in cooperation with the public health services and the state lab.
The award goes to beaches which satisfy tough environmental quality standards. A key prerequisite is the excellent quality of the bathing waters, but an additional 33 evaluation criteria are assessed for beaches and 38 for marinas which are certified for bathers’ safety, information, cleanliness and organisation of the beach and adjoining areas, protection of the natural wealth and promotion of environmental awareness
“It is a significant achievement for Cyprus that this year, 74 of the 120 bathing areas as well as two marinas, Limassol and Ayia Napa, are awarded the Blue Flag,” Kadis said.
In 2020, Cyprus topped the table in the EU for the quality of its bathing waters with a 100 per cent compliance with the relevant EU directive.
The 2021 results are expected to be issued by the European Commission by the end of the month.
“It is evident that given the particularities of Cyprus, where there is a direct connection between the quality of the bathing waters with tourism, these results are very important not just for health and the environment but for our country’s economy,” Kadis said.