Every year, when summer arrives and thousands of people put their eyes on the coast, the annual list of Blue Flags is made public. In it we can see which beaches preserve the flag, which beaches have lost it, and which beaches have just begun to be part of the list. But… what is the Blue Flag? If you want to know, read on.
What is the Blue Flag?
In a sentence, the Blue Flag means quality. It is an award given to beaches that meet a series of criteria of quality, safety, hygiene, provision of services and care for the environment. They can also be granted to harbours and even to boats, the latter since 2016.
Spain has been leader of the 49 countries that use this system to measure the quality of beaches since 1987. We have a grand total of 696 blue flags at the time of writing, 68 of which correspond to Alicante.
What criteria does a beach need to meet to get the Blue Flag?
There are four aspects that a beach that aspires to the Blue Flag must take into account: Environmental information and education, quality of the water, environmental management, and safety and services.
The environmental information and education criterion is fulfilled through information panels located on the beach, which must have data regarding the beach and its ecosystems, and, if applicable, regarding the nearby protected natural areas, as well as a series of behaviour in them. Besides, the municipality to which the beach belongs must organize at least five environmental education activities per year.
Quality of the water means that the beach must have a sample point to analyse its waters, since a study must be carried out at least every 17 days. This analysis should give an excellent result, according to the Bathing Water Quality Directive. And of course, the beach must comply with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.
In order to comply with the criteria of environmental management, the beach must comply with the Coastal Law, among other environmental laws; It must be clean and manage the waste correctly. It also has to have public bathrooms, and if they are urban beaches and / or at least one of the beaches with the award of the municipality, one of the bathrooms must be adapted for people with disabilities.
Lastly, the safety and services criteria are met by creating easy and safe access to the beaches, relying on the fact that urban beaches must be accessible to people with disabilities. In addition, the beach must have a team of first aid, as well as human, as well as life-saving equipment.
What other flags can I find on the Spanish beach?
Besides the Blue Flag, there are many more types of flag to consider at the Spanish beach.
The most common flags are those that indicate the state of the beach; the colour green means that the bathroom is allowed, the yellow colour means that one must be careful, and the red colour means that bathing is prohibited. These notices must be followed to the letter; however tranquil the sea may seem, especially in the east of Spain, there is always the danger of the sea surf, which is invisible to the naked eye, but can be very dangerous.
Additionally, there is a black flag, which indicates that a beach has been closed due to the poor state of the sea and sand, and presents a danger to health.
We also have the flag that indicates the presence of jellyfish, unmistakable since it carries a picture of jellyfish on a white background. If there are too many jellyfish (more than 20 stings per hour), this flag will become red.
A flag with black and white squares means that that area of the beach is a surf area, and therefore is prohibited. On the other hand, a yellow flag with a black dot means that boats and surfboards are prohibited.
A white and blue flag means that there is an immersion in progress, and therefore that the beach in question is a diving area.
Finally, a pennant is used to indicate strong winds, and recommends not using inflatables.
What beaches in Torrevieja have the Blue Flag?
Torrevieja was awarded with nothing less than six Blue Flags last year, being the second municipality of Alicante with more Blue Flags, just behind Orihuela.
The award-winning beaches were:
- Playa del Cura
- Playa de La Mata
- Playa Cala de Cabo Cervera
- Playa Cala de las Piteras
- Playa El Salaret
- Playa de Poniente
With increasingly demanding criteria, having six award-winning beaches is synonymous with quality. And with the incredible weather in Torrevieja, which allows you to enjoy the beach even in January, who would want to miss it?