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Blue-Flag Beaches 2010 in Greece

Four hundred and twenty one beaches and 9 marinas were awarded the blue flag this year in Greece. The “Blue Flags” program is an international effort made by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) based in Denmark, which awards blue flags to beaches that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and safety. In Greece the coordinator of the program is the Greek Organization for the Protection of Nature (Ελληνική Εταιρεία Προστασίας της Φύσης) and a list of the beaches awarded for 2010 is provided below. Greece comes in 2nd place this year in the number of beaches that were awarded. The beaches or marinas that want to receive a blue flag must be tested every year. This is how it works:
First of all, the EEPF does not go around the entire country testing the water of all the beaches. So it is left in the hands of the mayors around the country to apply for a blue flag every year. Once the mayor applies, the EEPF and its team run the necessary tests in order to determine whether the beach in question is suitable enough for a blue flag.
Therefore, if you’re curious as to why some of the most amazing beaches you know don’t have blue flags, know that it’s probably because no mayor applied for a blue flag for this beach. So, of course there are lots of beaches around the country that are breathtaking (a big example is Porto Katsiki and Kathisma in Lefkada), but no one bothered to apply so they can receive a blue flag.
In any case, for those beaches that do apply for a blue flag, there are four different areas on which they are tested:
• Cleanliness of the water: Tests are run twice a month during the swimming season at labs to determine if the water is safe. Results are posted here: Also they are checked for proper waste disposal and regular cleaning of the beach.
• Organization of the coast: No cars or motorbikes allowed, no free camping, restrooms, and a plan for dealing with possible accidents that pose a threat to the environment.
• Visitor safety: Trained lifeguards on duty or access to a phone for emergency situations, as well as access to the handicapped.
• Protection of the beach: Printed information on how to protect the natural environment of the beach.
The truth is that although all of these are required, I’m not sure if all of these are actually upheld by the municipalities. The only thing you can count on is that the water is tested regularly and the results are not only posted online but also in the local newspapers.

View the full list of beaches awarded the blue flag for 2010 on the website of “The Greek Organization for the Protection of Nature.”

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