by Staff Reporter

PALMA
A total of 80 beaches and ports in the Balearics have won the coveted European Union Blue Flag for excellence this year, five more than last year.
The flags are awarded by the Association of Environmental Education and the Consumer, and the European Environmental Education Foundation (ADEAC).
Majorca is the island with most awards, 55 in all (37 beaches and l8 ports), followed by Ibiza with 17 flags (16 beaches and one port) and Minorca, with eight flags for its beaches.

A further 19 resorts have won mentions.
Eighty-eight beaches had applied for a flag, two more than last year, and 61 were granted.
There are 278 beaches in the Balearics, which represent nine per cent of the 3'000 beaches in the whole of Spain. They are 99 kilometres long (five per cent of the national total).

The total number of Blue Flags awarded throughout Spain is 571, which means that one in seven of the beaches in Spain received the distinction.
Calvia is the municipality with most Blue Flags, eight in all, including the popular beaches of Son Matíes, Tora, Palmira and Cala Viñas), tying with Manacor, whose beaches include Cala Antena, Cala Murada and Cala Mendia.

Palma has won a Blue Flag in the Life Saving and First Aid category.
It was announced that next year, there will be a special Blue Flag for lifeguards. The awards were announced yesterday by José Ramon Sanchez, the president of ADEAC.

Asked if invasions by jellyfish would reduce the number of flags awarded, he said no, because safety and first aid facilities were also taken into account. The jellyfish are only a problem for three months, he added, saying that the problem arose because “the ecological balance has been broken” because there are fewer predators.

The state of the sand and water, and the sustainable development of the number of visitors as well as the ecological state of the shore and the waters are all taken into account in awarding the Blue Flags.

Climate change and beach management will also be taken into account in the future, Sánchez said.

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