MADRID, May 7 (Xinhua) -- A total of 669 Spanish beaches and marinas have received the "Blue Flag" eco label recognizing their cleanliness, environmental sustainability and safety in 2019, the Spanish Association of Environmental Education and Consumer Affairs (ADEAC) confirmed at a press conference here on Tuesday.
Accordingly, Spain continues to lead the world ranking on the "Blue Flag" quality award list for the 32nd consecutive year since 1987.
This year will see Spain fly 566 "Blue Flags" at beaches, 98 in marinas and five on sustainable tourist vessels.
135 of the "Blue Flag" beaches are situated in Comunidad Valenciana in the east of Spain, followed by the Catalan region in northeast Spain (97) and the southern region of Andalusia (79).
There are 44 "Blue Flags" in the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) and a further 43 in the Canary Islands, which are in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa.
ADEAC said that over 100 beaches around the world awarded a "Blue Flag" in 2019 have maintained their status for over 10 consecutive years, while 2019 sees seven beaches receive a "Blue Flag" for the first time.
Spain has 28 "Blue Flags" less than in 2018. The President of ADEAC, Jose Ramon Sanchez, explained that the reduction was due to the "high level of requirements" for the status, adding that many of the flags had been lost because of beach bars, which "do not comply with the regulations corresponding to these public spaces."
"The beach is a shared public asset that we have to learn to value, respect and share," said Sanchez, commenting that "unless something is sustainable it cannot be legal."
A total of 4,559 "Blue Flags" have been awarded in the northern hemisphere for 2019 (138 more than in 2018). 3,797 of those flags have been granted to beaches, 695 to marinas and 67 to sustainable tourist vessels.