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Vilnius beaches offer safe and nature-friendly recreation, Source: Grinda

Two Vilnius beaches awarded Blue Flag

Two Vilnius beaches awarded Blue Flag

Balsys (Green Lakes) and Žirmūnai are the first freshwater beaches in Lithuania to receive the international eco-label

Balsys (Green Lakes) and Žirmūnai, two of Vilnius’ 10 public beaches, have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag for 2021, reports the municipal website. What makes the event stand out is that these are the first freshwater beaches in Lithuania to receive the world-famous certification. The flag marking the rating will be raised at the start of the beach season in early June.

Strict environmental standards

The Blue Flag is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a not-for-profit NGO based in Denmark which operates in 60 member countries. Recipients of the coveted eco-label are beaches, marinas, or sustainable boating tourism operators that meet FEE’s stringent standards. Balsys (Green Lakes) and Žirmūnai received blue flags after implementing 33 strict requirements in the categories of education and information, water quality, environmental management, safety and service quality.

The Blue Flag programme has been running since 1985. In 2021 the flag will fly at more than 4,600 beaches in 46 countries around the world.

Lithuania joined the programme in 2000. Since then, 7 Lithuanian beaches have been awarded blue flags: the central beaches of Nida and Juodkrante, Palanga Birutė Park, Klaipėda City Municipality Smiltynė I and Melnragė II, Vilnius City Municipality Žirmūnai and Balsis (Green Lakes).

The Blue Flag certificate is issued for one season only. If, following FEE inspection, the condition of a beach is found to no longer meet the mandatory criteria, the Blue Flag must be lowered. The official bathing season on Vilnius public beaches starts on June 1 and lasts until September 15.

Good beach keeping

Vilnius beaches are maintained by Grinda, a company wholly-owned by Vilnius City Municipality which provides a wide range of services. The business portal rekvizitai.lt placed Grinda on its TOP Companies 2020 list among the most reliable and profitable Lithuanian business entities.

In 2020, Grinda's sales reached EUR 25 million. A part of the company’s  EUR 1.2 million profit will be paid in the form of dividends to the shareholder Vilnius City Municipality and thus contribute to the financing of the city schools, kindergartens, and hospitals.

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