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Blue Flags are Cool!

Blue flagIn September, Costa Rica celebrated its Independence and you were sure to see the colorful red white and blue flags all around the country. But if you looked closely, you may have also noticed another flag next to the national flag – a dark blue one with one or several stars. This flag means the school or institution is participating in one of the great conservation programs of Costa Rica, known as the Blue Flag or Bandera Azul. This program was originally started by the Costa Rica Water Institute in 1996 as a way to foster community involvement in cleanup of the nation’s beaches.

Blue Flag Beaches is a joint program with the Costa Rica Tourist Institute (ICT). Every year dozens of local citizen committees (110 in 2015 to be exact) are formed and agree to adopt a local beach to care for during the year. The participating beach is inspected 3 times during the year and rated on progress towards improvement in several different aspects: a) Ocean and potable water quality b) Waste collection and treatment c) Environmental education  d) Security and signage. If the beach qualifies then Blue Flags are given at different levels from1 star to a maximum 5 stars. Manuel Antonio National Park and its famed beaches has been the proud recipient of the Blue Flag since the programs inception, quite a feat!

Titi Conservation Alliance

Blu FlagApproximately 5 years ago the program was expanded to include other sectors of Costa Rican civil society, with categories including schools, communities and businesses.  Several members of Titi Conservation Alliance, for example Hotel Parador and Portasol have received the Blue Flag in recognition of their efforts. Many of the local schools in the Quepos – Manuel Antonio area also have been awarded the Blue Flag thanks to the hard work and dedication of the parents and families including Naranjito, Londres, La Inmaculada, Corea and Cocal. The newest Blue Flag category is called “Actions To Face Climate Change”!

Join Titi Conservation Alliance in saluting the Blue Flag program and its 20 years of existence this year. Remember that you too can be a active part in the conservation of our beautiful country by supporting the participating Blue Flag organizations like Titi Conservation Alliance.

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