The History of Blue Flag
The Blue Flag originated in France in 1985 when French coastal Local Authorities were awarded with the Blue Flag for compliance with sewage treatment and bathing water quality criteria. In 1987, the "European Year of the Environment", the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE) presented the French concept to the Eurpoean Commission, and the Blue Flag Programme was launched as one of the year’s community activities. In addition to sewage treatment and bathing water quality, criteria for obtaining a Blue Flag on a European level included other areas of environmental management, such as waste management and coastal planning and protection. Marinas were also eligible for the award.
In 1987 the Blue Flag was awarded to 244 beaches and 208 marinas in ten European countries. In 2001 FEE became a global organisation and changed its name from FEEE to FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). Since then, many countries outside Europe have joined the Blue Flag Programme. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean are all participating in the Blue Flag. Today, there are over 4,000 blue flag beaches and marinas around the world!
The Blue Flag has been operating in Ireland since 1988 when 19 beaches and 2 marinas were awarded blue flags. Since then the Blue Flag programme has grown from strength to strength with 79 beaches and 6 marinas achieving the accolade in 2016.