Voulisma loses the Blue Flag this year – Garbage carried by ocean currents is a serious problem

By | May 9, 2023

The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, as operator of the Blue Flags Program of Europe, decided to deprive the Blue Flag, by 2023, of the most popular beach in the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, Voulisma, in Istron Kalos Chorio.

The decision has been communicated to the Municipal Corporation – DAEAN and it is final, which has caused concern in the DAEAN leadership, which for a few weeks was informed of this negative fact and was trying to find out the details and facts that led to such a decision. , negative for the reputation of the beach and the area.

“Voulisma” beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, with panhellenic, if not international, recognition and rave reviews from bathers, local and foreign, who spend their holidays in our area or stop at the place to take a swim, passersby to other destinations. The turquoise waters, the wide view in a bay with the characteristics of the authentic Cretan nature, despite the construction activity that surrounds it, are strong factors to attract a large number of visitors every summer season. Up to a certain point of “saturation” during the so-called high tourist season, when to find a sunbed/umbrella or to queue for water sports you need… “advance reservation”. It is also no coincidence that due to the strong influx of bathers, a strong business activity has developed on this particular beach and its surroundings, with strong competition characteristics.

The detection of the presence of plastic debris and pulverized microplastic debris on the beach, during the inspection carried out by an authorized inspector of the management body in 2023, is cited by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature as a reason for not granting a Voulisma Blue Flag, by 2023. The curious thing about the case is that the deprivation of the Blue Flag to “Voulisma” was based, according to the national administrator, on “complaints received with photographic evidence, most of which came through international coordination”. office of the “Blue Flags” program.

The waste seems to come from marine currents and the members of the committee understand that its presence is due to the geographical location of the coast, but this does not meet the mandatory cleaning criteria”… The national administrator also points to another dimension of contamination problem that manifests itself in “Bulisma” and refers to the presence of microplastics. “In recent years, there are many microplastics and plastics on the coast that have been recorded during the visits of the program evaluators,” the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature also states in its letter.

On May 10, the beaches awarded with the Blue Flag will be officially announced, based on the quality of the sea water, the infrastructure and the management of the respective beaches. The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized institution to certify a beach, it is an indicator of guaranteeing the safety of its use by bathers and the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, over time, since its inception, has participated in supporting this institution, being one of the first municipalities in the country to submit applications and win Blue Flags for its beaches. It is no coincidence that, with the passage of time, the beaches of the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos appear in the top 3 places of the municipalities, with the most awarded coasts, at the national level, offering a wide tourist promotion and the best clean sea certification. and good management of its beaches, with an administrator initially DETADAN and later DAEAN.

In recent years, the DAEAN has signed an annual lease contract for a boat that collects garbage floating on the water from the surface of the Istron sea area and nearby beaches, while DAEAN personnel, who are present at the beach for hammocks, they also clean the section managed by the municipal corporation. DAEAN had also bought a small boat to collect garbage from the sea, but, as DAEAN managing director Michalis Garefalakis stated, it can only operate under conditions of good faith.

It is strange, however, that the neighboring beaches that are also managed by DAEAN, namely “Agios Panteleimonas” and “Karavostasi”, which are also awarded Blue Flags, do not attract the crowd of bathers who choose “Voulisma” , and although they have the same orientation, however, no evaluator from the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature found the presence of plastics nor were there any complaints accompanied by photos.

Asked about this development, the president of DAEAN Michalis Farsaris confirmed the fact and told ANATOLIA that he immediately sent a letter to the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature requesting information on the evidence on which he based the decision to withdraw the Blue Flag. of the first in popularity Playa del Municipio…

It was not clear if an “objection” procedure is planned so that the DAEAN can appeal against the conclusions on which the decision not to award a Blue Flag, this year, to “Voulisma” was based. However, both the president and the managing director of DAEAN pointed out the omission of the evaluator commissioned by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, of not informing the administration of the municipal company, as soon as he detected phenomena of beach contamination. with plastic rubbish…

As both Mr. Farsaris and Mr. Garefalakis pointed out, until last year the DAEAN had a good collaboration with the beach advisers from time to time, who reported directly and cooperated with the municipal company so that the corrective measures they indicated They will be carried out immediately, in order to preserve compatibility with the terms of the program and custody of the Blue Flag of each awarded beach. Winning as many Blue Flags as possible for our shores has a positive impact not only for the Municipality, but also for Crete and for the country that is internationally recognized for its achievement, DAEAN executives emphasized.

Unfortunately, whereas last year when the private evaluator found that the defibrillator available to the Boulismos lifeguard insurance company was stored in a different position than required, he reported and corrective action was taken. However, there was no information or alert about the existence of plastic garbage, after it was detected by the same inspector, said Mr. Farsaris, who together with the rest requests in his letter that he also be informed about this issue, if it existed such an email or another and escaped the attention of the DAEAN management team. To close, he spoke about the mismanagement of the issue, in this particular case, by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature.


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