Cape pupils will be educated about the importance of keeping beaches clean, through a programme themed "Don?t mess with South Africa?s beaches' - which is a partnership of the city council and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
The city?s Environmental Resource Management, and Sport and Recreation Departments, and IFAW will host the education program for schools at the City?s Blue Flag and pilot Blue Flag beaches from 25 to 28 February and 3 to 6 March 2008.
"The program will take place on the City?s three Blue Flag beaches, Bikini, Mnandi and Clifton 4th Beach and five pilot Blue Flag Beaches, Fish Hoek, Strandfontein, Muizenberg, Big Bay and Camps Bay,' the city said in a statement.
The Blue Flag Beach Environmental Education Program is part of the City?s Youth Environmental School (YES) Program. YES is a youth capacity-building, education and awareness program providing a variety of projects, activities, resources and opportunities for all schools (learners and educators) in Cape Town.
The Blue Flag Program is owned and run by the independent, non-profit international organisation, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
Blue Flag is an annual international award given only to beaches that meet the required standards of excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness, and environmental management.
The Blue Flag program seeks to establish and promote sustainable development at beaches/marinas by setting strict standards for water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, safety and other services.
According to the South African Blue Flag Criteria of 2006, "The Blue Flag campaign is essentially an environmental education program'. Education is viewed as one of the ways in which the program can lead to better environmental management in South Africa.
To achieve Blue Flag status, local authorities must run at least five environmental education programs each season at each Blue Flag beach.
These programs must involve staff, visitors and the general public. The current environmental education program is the third to be held at Cape Town?s beaches this season.
The City will be hosting this program in partnership with IFAW. The International Fund for Animal Welfare seeks to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the world by reducing their commercial exploitation, protecting wildlife habitats, and assisting animals in distress.
IFAW seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well-being of both animals and people.
The Blue Flag Program originated in Europe at a time when high levels of coastal pollution threatened the tourism industry.
In South Africa, the program was part of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism?s strategy to implement the developing White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development.
It was part of the CoastCare initiative that would seek to implement key White Paper strategies. It was also seen as a way to ensure adequate funding for beach management and the maintenance of beach facilities.