To promote eco-tourism and develop pollution-free beaches, the Tamil Nadu government plans to spend Rs 01 billion over the next five years to get the prestigious Blue Flag certification for the Marina and nine other beaches in the state.

Blue Flag certification is an internationally recognised ecolabel accorded by Denmarkbased NGO Foundation for Environment Education to beaches that meet 33 criteria under four heads — quality, safety, environmental education and information.

Apart from Marina, the government wants the tag for Manalmekudi and Kottaipattinam in Pudukottai district, Kushi in Ramanathapuram, Silver beach in Cuddalore, Neelankarai in Chengalpet, Kameshwaram and Neithal Nagar in Nagapattinam, Naravakkam in Villupuram and Kayalpattinam in Tuticorin.

So far, eight beaches in India, though none in Tamil Nadu, have got the tag. These are Kappad in Kerala, Kasarkod and Padubidri in Karnataka, Radha Nagar in the Andamans, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Ghogkla in Diu, Shivrajpur in Gujarat and Golden beach in Odisha.