Alcudia's beach. | L. OLMO

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The Blue Flag campaign was launched in 1987. It was a welcome and necessary initiative and has done an immense power of good, so much so that, unlike in 1987, beachgoers now take quality as a given. And because they do, it is debatable how much attention they pay to an accolade which, in Mallorca, now applies to only 21 beaches.

For most people, I imagine, Blue Flag still means just water quality and beach cleanliness, but it has gone well beyond this original remit. It has had to because of the appreciation that beach management is multifaceted. This, in turn, has prompted other standards, such as that of the ISO International Organization for Standardization.

While we are aware of well-publicised cases of deficiencies, which may be a reason for certain beaches failing to receive a Blue Flag, there are other reasons why a dwindling number of beaches have a Blue Flag in Mallorca.

A key one is that town halls opt instead for alternative certifications. A beach without a Blue Flag is certainly not an indication of lack of quality. Even so, Blue Flag is a kind of standard-bearer; it is the standard with which most people are familiar.

If these various certifications are to mean anything, there could do with being a unifying and highly recognisable mark. The public may not pay overly much attention, but enough people do to make it important that a false perception is not given because of the absence of a Blue Flag.