Eight Indian beaches, including Ghoghla beach of Diu and Shivrajpur beach in Gujarat’s Dwarka, have been awarded the Blue Flag certification, the environment ministry said on Sunday.

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the certification is a “proud moment for India” and added this is “global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.”

The Blue Flag certification has been given to Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden Beach (Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman and Nicobar Islands).

Sharing the news, Javadekar said, “An outstanding feat, as no #BLUEFLAG nation has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt.”

Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world, the environment ministry had said earlier. 

“India is also the first country in Asia-Pacific region which has achieved this feat in just about 2 years’ time,” Javedkar added. The government had on September 18 recommended these eight beaches for the coveted international eco-label.

A Blue Flag beach is an eco-tourism model endeavouring to provide the tourists or beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities, safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.

India has also been awarded the third prize by the jury under the “International Best Practices” for pollution control in coastal regions, the environment ministry’s statement added.

The environment ministry said, in a statement, the certification has been given by an international jury comprising of eminent members of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Denmark-based NGO Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by “Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria under four major heads — environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environment management, and conservation, and safety and services at the beaches.

Japan, South Korea, and the UAE are the only other Asian nations who have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches, however, in a time frame of about five to six years, the statement said.