Blue Flag Program
The Blue Flag Award is a voluntary eco-label program ran internationally by a non-governmental institution, the Denmark’s Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The Blue Flag concept was born in France during 1985 where the first French coastal municipalities were awarded the Blue Flag on the basis of criteria covering sewage treatment and bathing water quality.
Since then the program has year after year increased in numbers of Blue Flags. The criteria have during these years been changed to more strict criteria. As an example, in 1992 the Programme started using the restrictive guideline values in the EEC Bathing Water Directive as imperative criteria. In 2001 FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) decided to become a global organization.
Every year, the International Blue Flag Coordination conducts a detailed evaluation of selected Blue Flag sites, focusing each time on a slightly different set of spot-check criteria. In 2008 over 3200 beaches and marinas were awarded the Blue Flag while 37 countries are currently participating in the Blue Flag Programme: Bahamas, Belgium-Flanders, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and Wales. Aruba, Brazil, and Malta are currently running the program in the pilot phase.
HSPN runs the flag program for Greece, rating beaches and marinas on the quality of the seawater, the infrastructures, the organization of the swimming area services and environmental activities.