Visakhapatnam: The ministry of environment and forests has given its nod to a project aimed at maintaining the coastal stretches of the country. The beach environment and aesthetics management services (BEAMS) will operate under the umbrella of the integrated coastal zone management project.
The project is being sanctioned with the prime objective of maintaining the pristine coastal environment and developing environment-friendly sustainable tourist amenities at beaches.
Answering a question raised by Rajya Sabha member V. Vijaysai Reddy, minister for environment Prakash Javedkar said 13 beaches from various coastal states and Union territories, including Rushikonda beach in Andhra Pradesh, had been identified for the project. The infrastructure and tourist facilities include environment-friendly bio-toilets, shower panels, changing rooms, purified drinking water, pathways, benches, children's play area, fitness equipment, first-aid station, cloakrooms, parking facility, and signages.
Driven by the response in these 13 beaches, the government has decided to extend such facilities to around 100 beaches in five years. The ministry, in collaboration with the government of Andhra Pradesh, has initiated a beach suitability assessment survey in the state to identify potential beaches to be taken up for such eco-friendly development. Twenty beaches have been identified for development for 2020-21 throughout the country.
In developing such facilities, the minister said, due care was being undertaken to maintain the pristine environment of the beaches. Other infrastructure facilities under BEAMS include a greywater treatment plant for recycling water for horticulture and flushing purposes, a solid waste management plant for processing bio-waste, a solar power plant for energy requirements at the site, and landscape lighting. CCTV cameras will be installed at the beaches and security guards hired for the safety of beachgoers. Safety watch towers, trained lifeguards, and adequate safety equipment will also ensure the safety of the visitors.
The BEAMS programme, recognising the need of differently-abled visitors, also provides for amphibious wheelchair. Bamboo and other environment-friendly materials have been used to furnish the facilities.