Blue Flag environmental status given to seven UAE beaches

The flags were awarded to five public and two private beaches in recognition of “a significant increase in environmental standards” in enhancing the quality of beaches and marinas in the UAE.
Families of different nationalities mostly expatriates spend time to celebrate Eid in beaches, like Mamzar open beach. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Families of different nationalities mostly expatriates spend time to celebrate Eid in beaches, like Mamzar open beach. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

ABU DHABI // Seven beaches have been added to the UAE’s list of internationally recognised Blue Flag beaches for 2014-2015.

The flags were awarded to five public and two private beaches in recognition of “a significant increase in environmental standards” in enhancing the quality of beaches and marinas in the UAE.

Twenty-one existing Blue Flag beach and marina operators in the country were also successfully re-awarded this year, including the 12 that were awarded for the first time last year.

The newly awarded UAE beaches are Al Bateen Ladies Beach (Abu Dhabi), Al Mamzar Beach Park – Beaches 1, 3, 4 and 5 (Dubai), Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa (Dubai) and Atlantis The Palm hotel (Dubai).

The flags were awarded after an assessment by the Blue Flag UAE committee and the Blue Flag international jury, said a statement released by Emirate Wildlife Society-WWF.

Since the Blue Flag award began in the UAE, in 2010, 28 beaches have now been granted the status. Among them, 10 are public beaches, which were awarded for offering a clean, safe and well-maintained environment.

“We are immensely proud to have such a high number of beaches in the UAE flying the prestigious Blue Flag, especially public beaches that can be enjoyed by residents and tourists alike,” said Ida Tillisch, the society’s director general.

“This achievement is a testimony to the continued efforts and hard work of site managers, authorities and stakeholders to enhance the quality of beaches and marinas in the UAE.

“It also demonstrates a strong commitment from beaches and marina operators, who voluntarily chose to create clean and safe beaches.

“The high number of public beaches earning the flag is particularly encouraging.”

Indian expatriate Maria Monita, 45, who lives near Al Mamzar Beach Park, said: “UAE beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. They are the most popular points for people to relax and enjoy during the weekend.

“As UAE residents, we feel proud that our beaches are internationally recognised, not just because they are beautiful but also because they are safe and clean. My family goes to the beach almost every weekend and we feel, along with the authorities, that it is our responsibility to take care of our beautiful beaches.”

She added that schools can also play an important role in educating children about keeping beaches clean.

Serge Zaalof, president and managing director of Atlantis, The Palm, said he was “thrilled to have received the highly coveted Blue Flag certificate”. He said that his team was looking forward to working with Blue Flag to maintain excellent standards.

Christophe Schnyder, the general manager of Sofitel The Palm Dubai, said: “This recognition is a testament to our ongoing commitment and efforts in ensuring a sustainable environment.

“Our whole team strongly believes that sustainability is not only a corporate responsibility but a global one to help preserve our planet.”

The Blue Flag is an international voluntary programme established by the Foundation for Environmental Education. In the UAE, Blue Flag is coordinated by Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF.

To be awarded a Blue Flag, strict assessments are made on environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, safety and other services. So far, more than 4,000 beaches and marinas in 48 countries across the world have Blue Flags.

akhaishgi@thenational.ae

Published: December 10, 2014 04:00 AM

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