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Greece again top earner of ‘Blue Flag of Europe’ awards

Once again, Greece proves its beaches and bathing waters are among the best in Europe. The country was awarded 327 "Blue Flags" for its clean, environmentally rich beaches from the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe. Last year, it received 326.
Of the 19 countries that vied for 1999 blue flag<.> awards, Greece place third on the list of the highest number of flags awarded to one country.
The national operator for the European clean beach awards, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, said as well that all nine Greek marinas that participated in the contest adhered to the strict conditions set down by the European Foundation that heads the program, compared with seven last year. A total of 358 applications were received from Greek beach properties.
On the European scale, 1,822 beaches (about 100 less than last year) and 618 marinas (572 last year) met the conditions and were awarded the prestigious flag.
Each successful community applicant has the right to fly the flag on its beach or marina property from June 1 to the end of October. At that time, the flag, which is recyclable, must be returned to the foundation.
The campaign is an award scheme that targets local authorities that manage coastal areas for recreation and tourism. The program uses a set of 26 criteria that's under continued development and evaluation.
Participating local authorities must show how they work with environment management and how they distribute information and education on their coastal resources.
The Greek society says most problems occur not because of any deficiency in the candidates beach but rather in their problem to have water samples tested every 15 days as required. The European Foundation spot checks at least 5% of all blue flag winners to ensure each adheres to every criteria.
The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature was established more than 50 years ago. It's a non-profit organization that works to promote environmental education in Europe.
Separately, the Greek government spent at least 800 million drachmas since last year to improve beaches in 29 areas of the country, including the Athens area.
During the period 1994-2000, the government will have spent 16.3 billion drachmas on beach property improvement projects.

Once again, Greece proves its beaches and bathing waters are among the best in Europe. The country was awarded 327 "Blue Flags" for its clean, environmentally rich beaches from the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe. Last year, it received 326.

Of the 19 countries that vied for 1999 blue flag<.> awards, Greece place third on the list of the highest number of flags awarded to one country.

The national operator for the European clean beach awards, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, said as well that all nine Greek marinas that participated in the contest adhered to the strict conditions set down by the European Foundation that heads the program, compared with seven last year. A total of 358 applications were received from Greek beach properties.

On the European scale, 1,822 beaches (about 100 less than last year) and 618 marinas (572 last year) met the conditions and were awarded the prestigious flag.

Each successful community applicant has the right to fly the flag on its beach or marina property from June 1 to the end of October. At that time, the flag, which is recyclable, must be returned to the foundation.

The campaign is an award scheme that targets local authorities that manage coastal areas for recreation and tourism. The program uses a set of 26 criteria that's under continued development and evaluation.

Participating local authorities must show how they work with environment management and how they distribute information and education on their coastal resources.

The Greek society says most problems occur not because of any deficiency in the candidates beach but rather in their problem to have water samples tested every 15 days as required. The European Foundation spot checks at least 5% of all blue flag winners to ensure each adheres to every criteria.

The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature was established more than 50 years ago. It's a non-profit organization that works to promote environmental education in Europe.

Separately, the Greek government spent at least 800 million drachmas since last year to improve beaches in 29 areas of the country, including the Athens area.

During the period 1994-2000, the government will have spent 16.3 billion drachmas on beach property improvement projects.


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