Overstrand is exceptionally proud that five of its beaches – Grotto, Hawston, Onrus, Kleinmond and Castle – are among the 51 South African beaches that have been accredited this season (2022/23) to display the Blue Flag.
The accreditation is awarded for one season at a time and if conditions deteriorate at the beach, it can be withdrawn.
Of the 51 beaches awarded Blue Flags this week, 33 are in the Western Cape, nine in KwaZulu-Natal and nine in the Eastern Cape.
In South Africa, the Blue Flag programme is managed by WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) and the programme offers many benefits: Improved tourism facilities, enhanced management of coastal ecosystems, educational awareness programmes and excellent water-quality standards and facilities.
Overstrand Municipality’s MMC for Community Services, councillor Ronald Nutt, and Roderick Williams, Director of Community Services, went to receive this year’s Blue Flag at the annual National Blue Flag Launch in Plettenberg Bay on Thursday, 3 November 2022, on behalf of the Municipality.
“We are super proud that we have retained our Blue Flag status as it is international confirmation that our beaches are not just beautiful and safe but also environmentally friendly. We try and keep our facilities in good condition to welcome tourists to our towns during the summer season,” Cllr Nutt said.
At the launch, WESSA’s CEO, Helena Atkinson, paid tribute to the municipal authorities whose beaches qualified for Blue Flag status.
She said South Africa is proud to be one of 48 countries implementing this internationally recognised eco-label. There are now over 5,000 Blue Flag beaches, marinas and tourism boats around the world.
“One of the key challenges over the past season included sewerage-related issues, which can often result in water quality sample failures. Water quality is an important factor in retaining a beach’s Blue Flag status, because only excellent bathing water quality is accepted.”
Unfortunately, some beaches have fallen off the programme due to non-compliant water quality after the devastating floods in KZN. Atkinson said WESSA is committed to working closely with these municipalities to help address the root cause of the issue and get those sites back on the programme in order to achieve excellent swimming water standards that are safe for both South Africans and international tourists.
Grotto’s Blue Flag-status will kick in on 1 December until 31 March 2023. In the case of Hawston, Onrus, Kleinmond and Castle beaches, this status will come into effect on 1 December through to 22 January 2023.
It should be noted that no pets will be allowed on Blue Flag-beaches for the duration, and that the consumption and/or possession of any alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited in all public areas including beaches.
Lifesaving and security services will be fully operational for the duration of the holiday season on the afore stated beaches.