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Durban beaches awarded blue flag status
Twelve beaches in eThekwini have been awarded the national blue flag status for the 2020/21 season. The announcement was made at an event held at uShaka Marine World on 27 November.

Five of the City’s beaches received full status while seven received blue flag pilot status. Beaches that received full blue flag status include uShaka, Durban North, Point, Amanzimtoti and uMhlanga Main. Those that received pilot status are South Beach Central, Umgababa, Umdloti Tidal, Westbrook, Ansteys, Bronze and Brighton.

The commitment to increase the number of blue flag beaches indicate that the City is moving in the right direction to ensure the environment is adequately managed as well as to attract domestic and international tourists to the City.

MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay said: “It is no secret that South Africa is home to some of the best beaches in the world, with KwaZulu-Natal arguably enjoying many of the very best. The blue flag attribute goes hand-in-glove with our idyllic sub-tropical climate and year-round sunny weather, making KZN the ideal beach holiday destination, nationally and, of course, globally.”

MEC Pillay said the province’s Economic Recovery Plan places tourism as one of the top three priorities, therefore golden beaches are essential for enhancing tourism as it activates the recovery plan. EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said: “EThekwini has over 100 kilometres of coastline with numerous tourist attractions and is home to the busiest port on the continent. Therefore, the City's coastal line has a huge economic benefit not only for the City, but for the entire continent.”

He said the City will continue to undertake water quality tests at all its beaches, over and above the blue flag sites. He added that the City has a duty to continue to preserve this important resource by keeping it clean. “This is particularly important as the world is facing challenges of climate change,” Mayor Kaunda said.

Wildlife and Environment Society South Africa Blue Flag Programme Manager Cindy-Lee Cloete said the most effective way to protect the environment, especially the beaches, is through embarking on awareness campaigns. “The goal is to achieve 100 blue flag status beaches by 2030, currently the country has 58 full status blue flag beaches out of 77 sites in total.”
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