(photo credit: Mike Benn)
The Environmental Protection Ministry will begin rating beaches on a scale of zero to four for the first time, it said on Wednesday. The ministry launched a new program called Blue-Green Flag, which was inspired by the international Blue Flag program.
The ministry will inspect beaches weekly starting on Wednesday and the rankings will be published every two weeks until the end of the bathing season in October. The criteria will be expanded ahead of next year’s bathing season which begins before Pessah.
The beaches will be ranked based on the following criteria: water quality, cleanliness of the beach, parking, disabled access, coastal facilities, sewage connection, public opinion, and the ministries’ opinions.
The ministry developed the criteria in conjunction with the national inspector in the Health Ministry and the head of the business and bathing beaches registration branch in the Interior Ministry.
According to its Web site, “the Blue Flag is a voluntary, eco-label
awarded to over 3450 beaches and marinas in 41 countries across Europe,
South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the
“The Blue Flag Programme is owned and run by the independent non-profit
organization Foundation for Environmental Education. The Blue Flag works
towards sustainable development at beaches/marinas through strict
criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and
information, environmental management, and safety and other services.”
Few of Israel’s beaches would currently meet the Blue Flag’s criteria as
it demands that no sewage reach the beaches and that driving on the
beaches be strictly controlled, among many other things. The country is
consistently plagued with sewage leaks into the ocean near its coastline
and people continue to drive recklessly on the beaches.