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Blue Flag Campaign

The BLUE FLAG CAMPAIGN (BFC) is an international exclusive eco-label indicating clean, safe and well-managed beaches and marinas.

The Blue Flag Campaign originally started as a French idea for municipalities in 1985 and was launched on the European level in 1985 as one of the initiatives of the European Union. The campaign started with around 450 Blue Flags awarded to beaches and marinas in 10 countries. The number of beaches/marinas and the number of participating countries has increased year by year. The Blue Flag Campaign is not anymore only a European campaign. Since 2001, South Africa, Morocco and five countries in the Caribbean are working on implementing the Blue Flag.

In 2006, 2589 beaches and 641 marinas in 33 countries received the Blue Flag, including European countries, Canada, Morocco, and New Zealand, South African Republic, Caribbean countries.

The international non-governmental and non-profit organisation "The Foundation for Environmental Education" (FEE) owes and runs the Blue Flag Campaign. FEE has a member organisation working in the field of environmental education and information for safety development in each country administrating the Blue Flag Campaign on the national level.

Before being able to launch the BFC in a new country the FEE member organisation - initiator the BFC on the national (regional) level should go through the following steps:

• Arrange a national (regional) Blue Flag workshops and seminars for dissemination of information and discussion on extent of interest on BFC development in the region;
• Form a National (regional) Blue Flag Committee;
• Produce a Blue Flag feasibility study and assess of what can be called the “supporting system“ for a national (regional) BFC;
• Run a Blue Flag pilot phase.

NGO “Keep Saint-Petersburg Tidy” is initiating the Blue Flag Campaign in Saint- Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. This organisation became a member of FEE in 2002. It implemented the 1st and 2nd steps of BFC development in framework of the project “Blue Flag Campaign Promotion in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region” with the supporting of Nordic Council of Ministers.

In 2004 SPbPO "Keep Saint-Petersburg Tidy" implemented the 3rd step and prepared the base for implementation of 4th step – Blue Flag pilot phase, that was started in summer period 2005.

[*] 2003 - visitation the Blue Flag sites in Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania

[*] 2004 - visitation the Blue Flag sites in Norway; visitation one marina in Finland

[*] 2005-2006 - implementation of Blue Flag Campaign pilot phase

2003

In framework of the project “Blue Flag Campaign Promotion in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region” members of Regional Blue Flag Committee visited BF sites in project-partners' countries. They have known much new information about BF in Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania and will sure use their rich experience on this matter. Members of the Regional BF Committee became acquainted with good experience in relate to coastal management, proper environmental legislation, environmental technology concerning waste and water treatment. Dissemination of such kind of experience over St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region will be very useful for building sustainable mechanisms of improving the environmental management of the coastal zones in the region. They have also known about compositions and action plans of partner-countries national BF Jury and also about environmental education programs for nature-friendly use of local coastal recreation zones.

In Denmark, 82 marinas and 197 beaches received the Blue Flag in 2003. Blue Flag locations are easy identified and very attractive for tourists.

In order to be eligible for Blue Flag, a marina or beach has to comply with the Blue Flag criteria. The criteria for marinas and for beaches are of course different due to different conditions, but both sets of criteria cover the same four aspects:

• Environmental management;
• Environmental education and information;
• Safety and service facilities;
• Water quality.

BF marinas have to supplied environmental information to marina users, including details of any sensitive areas to be avoided when sailing, or mooring. Code of environmental conduct, information related to Blue Flag Campaign and Criteria have to be posted in an accessible site.

The marina should be able to demonstrate that at least three environmental education activities are offered to the users and staff of the marina. Besides, the individual Blue flag for boat owners is offered through the marina.

Only one non-governmental organisation, which is a member of FEE and working on implementing the Blue Flag on the national (regional) level, exists in each country. International Secretariat of FEE is in United Kingdom, Blue Flag Coordination office is in Copenhagen withindoors of organisation "The Danish Outdoor Council". This organisation is a member of FEE and has a long history of working with environmental education and awareness raising. The basic philosophy is that without knowledge of environmental impacts and means neither of acting upon that knowledge, there will nor be any change in behavior.

In Sweden, 89 marinas and 55 beaches received the Blue Flag in 2003.

Participation in the Blue Flag Campaign is voluntary. The local authority is in charge of applying for Blue Flag for a beach or a marina in the form of sending of application form and supplementary documentation. A National (Regional) Blue Flag Jury is responsible for evaluation the candidates on the national (regional) level. The National (Regional) Blue Flag Jury forwards the approved candidates to International BF Coordinator for evaluation. The International Coordinator forwards the approved candidates to an International Blue Flag Jury for final approval.

Blue Flag sites have to supply adequate services and safety provisions to site users. There must be adequate life saving and emergency equipment, adequate first aid and fire-fighting equipment; adequate, clean and well sign-posted sanitary facilities, including washing facilities and drinking water. Map indicating the location of the different facilities is posted at the BF site.

At least one of the municipality's beaches must be equipped with access ramps to the beach and toilet facilities for people with disabilities.

In Estonia, 4 marinas and 3 beaches received the Blue Flag in 2003.

Blue Flag marina has to ensure adequate environmental management, at the same time an environmental policy and plan in the marina should be developed. The plan should include reference to water, waste and energy consumption, health and safety issues, and the use of environmentally sound products when available.

Adequate and property identified and segregated containers for storage of hazardous wastes (paints, solvents, boat scrapings, antifouling agents, batteries, waste oil, flares) should be placed in the marina. Adequate and well-managed garbage containers should be also placed in the BF marina. The wastes should be handled by a licensed contractor and disposed of at a licensed facility.

Marina should have facilities for receiving recyclable waste materials, such as bottles, cans, paper, plastic, organic material, etc.

All buildings and equipment must be properly maintained and in compliance with national legislation. The marina must be in a good integration with the surrounding natural and built environment.

Marina should have adequate, clean and well sign-posted sanitary facilities, including washing facilities and drinking water. Controlled sewage disposal to a licensed sewage treatment.

If the marina has boat repairing and washing areas, no pollution must enter the sewage system, marina land and water or the natural surroundings.

No parking/driving in the marina, unless in specific designated areas.

Besides of imperative criteria, mentioned above, BF marina is recommended to have bilge water and toilet pumping facilities.

In Lithuania, only 1 beaches in Nida received the Blue Flag in 2003.

High level of water quality is a priority criterion in order beach to be eligible for Blue Flag. No industrial or sewage related discharges may affect the beach area and local and/or regional emergency plans to cope with pollution accidents should be developed.

Boating tourism dynamically developing in the Baltic Sea Region countries may become as essential addition to different kinds of water tourism for Saint-Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, representing large interest from the recreation point of view.

There are more than 50 enterprises and organizations in our city, having on their balance and exploiting marine and river vessels. At the present about 13000 boats (yachts and cutters) are registered in the State Inspection of Boats. A lot of floating bars, cafes and restaurants are at the water areas of our city.

At present about 20000 persons go in for boating in St. Petersburg and the number of participants has increased year by year. Operation of yachts and cutters may causes damage to the environment. Some of them are evident. For example pollution of water areas and coastal zones with different waste, disturbing animals during of reproduction and migration periods. Some of them, such as destroying of coastal zones by waves from the cutters going fast are not so evident for everybody, but nevertheless real.

There are no marinas equipped and functioning according to the European standard and to the Water Legislation of Russian Federation in St. Petersburg. Everywhere conditions for employment of water protection areas and coastal protection zones are infringed and licences for water using and agreements with the Administrations of the Russian Federation Subjects are absent. The area of a number of marinas is polluted with founder floating vessels and flowing garbage. Water protection zones are polluted by household waste and scrap-metal.

Sensitive coastal water and coastal areas are being afflicted with diseases caused by our lifestyle; they act as buffer zones, keeping pollutants out of the water bodies. Urgent measures are required for changing of real situation aiming at the development of water tourism taking into account ecological demands.

Development of the Blue Flag Campaign in our region may play a vital part for improvement of the coastal zones management. That has a large significance for both the nature preservation and the increasing of public awareness, increasing of responsibility of all participants of the recreation activity and also for the development of sustainable water tourism and recreational activity.

  

2004

In framework of the continuation of the project “Blue Flag Campaign Promotion in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region” members of Regional Blue Flag Committee visited BF sites in Norway. They attended a special emphasis to the experience of BF pilot phase realization in Norway.

Norway makes an indelible impression: its territory contains almost all variety of landscapes: mountains, glaciers, plateaus, forests, seas, lakes, rivers and, of course, fjords. We saw at first hand that no vainly so prestige magazine like the National Geographic has gave a title of the best tourist sights for Norway fjords, designated 82 points for the fjords on the scale from 1 to 100. At that, so characteristics as level of safety and pollution, beauty and efficient management of the territories and objects have played an important role.


The organization "The Foundation for Environmental Education, Norway" (FEE Norway) owes and runs the Blue Flag Campaign in Norway. The three coastal sites: two beaches and one marina were selected as candidates for participation in the pilot phase of Blue Flag Campaign in Norway in 1999. All three pilot units are representative for Norwegian beaches and marinas, they operated on a commercial basis and for free public access.


The following beaches and marinas have been participating as pilot units:

1. Skottevig Maritime Center

Skottevig is an integrated maritime center having a wide specter of facilities. The area is located close to the shores, having a beach distributed into smaller units with a main access from the center administration building.

The administration building is facilitating restaurant, kiosk, information center, toilets and meeting rooms. The building welcomes arrangements all the year, as conferences, courses and other meetings and assemblies.

New apartments are built, in addition to the older, in separate building with close access to the shores. The standard is high, and may host guest on an all year basis.

The area of the marine center, including surrounding areas, has considerable environmental qualities, the sea life with boating, fishing and diving facilities.

Both Norwegians, as well as guests from all over Europe, many from Germany and the Netherlands host Skottevig.


2. Bystranda Kristansand

Bystranda is a smaller, plain beach located nearby the city center of Kristiansand. The municipal of Kristiansand populates around 70 000. During the summer months the figure may exceed 100 000.

The beach is new and developed with high standard with respect to all Blue Flag requirements on facilities.


3. Nodeviga Marina

This marina is also located in the center of Kristiansand. The marina consists of two separate part operated by the same owners: a marina and a restaurant. The doors are opened between the two parts.

Nodeviga sells fuel and boating related products and operates a kiosk. In addition they have facilities for grey and black water, bilge water etc, in addition to take care of waste of any kind from the boats. They have no facilities for winter storage and servicing of boats.


In Norway, 5 marinas and 1 beach received the Blue Flag in 2004.

In Sweden, 66 marinas and 55 beaches received the Blue Flag in 2004.

In Denmark, 77 marinas and 208 beaches received the Blue Flag in 2004.

In Finland, 20 marinas and 6 beaches received the Blue Flag in 2004.

In summer 2004 the members of Regional Blue Flag Committee for exchange experience also visited a boat harbour in Finland, located on the island Nagu not far from the town Turku. The harbour consists of marina, hotel, restaurant, cafe, shops, and also summerhouses to be rented.

This marina is complied with many of the BF criteria, but the marina owners consider that at present they feel themselves enough comfortably without Blue Flag. The harbour is a member of the international Sunmarina Guestharbours network, developed its own criteria recommended for fulfilment by the network members. A guide contained the information about harbours location, presence of the proper infrastructure and also contact information, has been developed by joint efforts of the network members. Each member of the network has the guide that promotes boating development among the countries - members of the network.

In Estonia 4 marinas and 4 beaches received the Blue Flag in 2004.

In Lithuania 3 beaches received the Blue Flag in 2004.

Complete information on all countries run Blue Flag Campaign may be found at website www.blueflag.org

In Saint-Petersburg and the Leningrad region the pilot phase of the Blue flag campaign is planned to begin in 2005, at that for the star, only two coastal sites: one beach and one marina have been selected as candidates for participation in the pilot phase of Blue Flag Campaign.

It is also planned to promote the development of the Blue Flag Campaign for individual boats in the region and some of the boats, for example sailing catamaran "Centaurus" (www.centaurus.ru), have already expressed their intention to participate in the campaign.

2005-2006

In summer 2005 the marina "Frankardi" (Embankment of the river Bolshaya Nevka 24, Saint-Petersburg) and the beach of the Korkinskoie Lake (Vsevolozhsk District of the Leningrad region) started the Blue flag Campaign pilot phase.

At present SPbPO "Keep Saint-Petersburg Tidy" is initiating the Individual Blue Flag Campaign in framework of the international project Baltic SeaBreeze. The project aims at strengthening the network in the marina sector to decrease the pollution of the Baltic Sea caused by recreation activity and to promote ecological safety boating and spare time at the seaside.

In framework of the Baltic SeaBreeze project organisation Keep Saint-Petersburg Tidy fulfilled the followings:

- Compiled and published 2 booklets: "Blue Flag for Boats, the environmental code of conduct" and "The Baltic SeaBreeze Project", that contains description of the project goal, workgroups and partners;

- Prepared 3 educational documentary video films: "Catamaran Centaurus-II will be awarded by eco-label certificate - small Blue Flag", "Marina Frankardi is the candidate to be awarded by eco-label Blue Flag" and "Ecological safety boating". The films were shown accordingly 23 August 2005 (two first films) and 25 July 2006 (third film) on TV program OTV;

- Prepared and presented on radio program Open City some subject reportages;

- Held the environmental seminar for leisure craft owners;

- Held the environmental seminar on exchange experience for marinas/guest harbours management.

In 2005, 2442 beaches and 632 marinas in 33 countries received the Blue Flag, including European countries, South African Republic, Canada and Caribbean countries.

In 2006, 2589 beaches and 641 marinas in 33 countries received the Blue Flag, including European countries, Canada, Morocco, and New Zealand, South African Republic, Caribbean countries.