On International Water Day Costa Rica awarded its Blue Flag awards to communities, beaches, businesses, conservation areas and other organizations demonstrating a commitment to protecting the country’s natural resources.
“Costa Ricans, since the 1960s, decided to have a social pact with nature, and that is what we are fulfilling today,” said President Laura Chinchilla. Thursday at the Blue Flag awards ceremony at Casa Presidencial in the southeastern Zapote district of San José.
Twenty years ago the National Water Laboratory – an office of the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) – began promoting development in local committees with conservation and protection of natural resources as a goal.
In 2011, some 1,400 organizations participated in the Blue Flag Awards in seven categories, including protection of beaches, community development, schools and preserved areas. The initiative also wanted to mitigate the effects of climate change, protect hydrological resources and promote public wellbeing.
Of the 1,400 which participated 857 were awarded this week with at least one of five possible stars indicating the level of commitment to environmental protection.
80 beaches were awarded at least one star. Punta del Madero, nearby Tamarindo, Guanacaste, and Playa Blanca de Punta Leona near Jacó, on the central Pacific coast, were the only beaches to receive five stars for 2011. Bahía Junquillal, in Guanacaste, and Manuel Antonio National Park, on the central Pacific coast, both received two stars.
Costa Developers communities are located in the Central Pacific, approximately one hour from Manuel Antonio, also Costa Esterillos is located at Esterillos beach, another previously Blue-Flag awarded.
Reserva Conchal, EARTH University and La Fortuna de San Carlos each earned four stars in the “communities” category. Of 44 communities that participated last year, 25 earned one star, ten earned two stars and two earned three stars.
33 protected areas received at least one Blue Flag star; 21 reserves and refuges received three stars, and none received four or five. The Punta Leona Wildlife Refuge, EARTH Forest Reserve and the Nosara Civic Association Reserve, among others, all earned 3 stars.
René Castro, Costa Rican Environment Minister praised the dedication of participating organizations and committees, saying the steps they have taken to shrink their environmental impacts are not easy, but their efforts improve the country’s “Eco-competitiveness.”
Castro also revealed plans to create a national watershed registry with sensors competent to monitoring changes in hydrological resources in real time.
Castro also said, will now dedicate some 20% of its resources to patrolling and managing water resources in the country, and will also start a campaign of shame including publishing online names of individuals and businesses known to be polluting water sources.Share on Facebook