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Greece Receives the 3rd Place for its Coasts

Greece is famous worldwide for the myriads of options it offers in sunny holidays. Visitors recognize and recommend its long beach strips, sandy or rocky, on the mainland or in islands. Well, the visitors’ perception has been validated, since Greece has been listed in the third place out of fifty countries for its coastlines and marinas in terms of water quality, range of services offered, safety and other criteria.

Overall, three hundred ninety-five Greek coasts and nine marinas won this year the international recognition of the Blue Flag.

The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF), which is the national operator of the "Blue Flag" and the oldest environmental organisation in the country, held a press conference to make the announcement of the awarded coasts and marinas.

The president of EEPF, Mr. Nicos Petrou, mentioned during the press conference that “awards are not forever… at regular intervals unexpected inspections are carried out, and if there is a problem, flags are removed. “In Greece, every year, we usually lose about 5-8 flags, but last year we removed a total of 38 flags. However, due to 30 new awards the difference in the total number was not noticeable", he explained, adding to the procedure followed for awarding a Blue Flag.

The founder and international coordinator of the Blue Flag programme is the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which is based in Denmark and has 63 member countries from all continents. As the FEE’s website reads the Blue Flag is a ‘voluntary eco-label’, awarded since 1987, based on a set of stringent criteria in the categories of Water Quality, Environmental Management, Environmental Education and Information, and Safety and Other Services. For example, some criteria include cleanliness, waste and recycling provision, activities for multiple population groups, organization, information, safety of swimmers and visitors, protection of the natural wealth of the coast, etc.

The Blue Flag is awarded to over 4000 beaches and marinas in 48 countries, not only in Europe but extending also to New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and others. The aim of the Blue Flag is to support sustainable development as it encourages governments and local authorities to maintain high standards in their coastlines and waters.

The criteria are reviewed and updated in light of new advancements and scientific findings, legislation and in general to motivate the participants to improve continuously environmental quality. Despite the imposition of stricter criteria over time, the beaches and marinas awarded are increasing with every year.

The detailed list of awarded beaches and marinas in Greece is available on the website of EEPF: