It's not just another day at the beach! On 26 February, South African Blue Flag National Operator WESSA held an event on Muizenberg beach in Cape Town to present amphibious wheelchairs to four municipal Blue Flag beaches in South Africa.
WESSA (The Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa), in partnership with the National Council for People with Disabilities and with funding provided by The Ford Motor Company Fund, donated the wheelchairs to Blue Flag beaches in Cape Town, Overstrand, Bitou, and Kouga. The amphibious wheelchairs were provided by Blue Flag corporate partner AccessRec, a company that produces a range of products designed to make beaches more accessible to people with disabilities.
The amphibious wheelchairs are designed to move easily across sandy beaches, enter the water, and float in the sea. Access to the wheelchairs gives disabled beach goers the opportunity to enjoy a full and seamless beach experience. The selected beaches will provide the wheelchairs free of charge to those who need them. WESSA believes that the donation of these first four wheelchairs marks a step in the direction of universal access to Blue Flag beaches in South Africa.
One of the things that makes Blue Flag unique in the world of eco-labels is its emphasis on accessibility. This idea can be found throughout the Blue Flag philosophy, from the criterion that private beaches have affordable entrance fees, to the requirement that at least one beach per municipality provide infrastructure and amenities for people with disabilities. Blue Flag beaches are not only clean, safe, sustainable, and educational, but also accessible. By minimising obstacles to accessibility, WESSA is upholding one of Blue Flag's core values and setting an example for Blue Flag beaches around the world.
All photos provided by WESSA. You can also check out WESSA's video of a Cape Town resident riding the waves in one of the new amphibious wheelchairs.