Twelve beaches in Durban have been awarded national blue flag status for the 2020/21 season, according to a release on the Ethekwini website.

Five of the city’s beaches received full status – uShaka, Durban North, Point, Amanzimtoti and uMhlanga Main. Seven received blue flag pilot status – South Beach Central, Umgababa, Umdloti Tidal, Westbrook, Ansteys, Bronze and Brighton.

eThekwini Mayor, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, said the city’s 100km coastline was a huge economic benefit, not only for the city, but for the entire continent. He said the city would continue to undertake water quality tests at all its beaches, over and above the blue flag sites.

Wildlife and Environment Society South Africa Blue Flag Programme Manager, Cindy-Lee Cloete, said the most effective way to protect the environment, especially the beaches, was through awareness campaigns.

“The goal is to achieve 100 blue flag status beaches by 2030. Currently the country has 58 full status blue flag beaches out of 77 sites in total,” she said.

The iconic blue flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.

To qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.