The Philippines has approved the temporary closure over concerns of dumped sewage.
For travelers who’ve experienced the idyllic beauty of Boracay, “cesspool” is likely the last word that comes to mind.
However, the Philippines has announced a six-month closure of the popular holiday island over concerns that the white-sand resort has been tainted by dumped sewage.
After weeks of speculation, presidential spokesman Harry Roque has announced on Twitter that the closure will begin on April 26, following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. At the moment, no other information was made available.
In February, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lambasted the island’s hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses, accusing them of having dumped sewage directly into the sea. He said this turned the island into a “cesspool.”
According to government officials, the island’s drainage system is being used to send the untreated sewage into its surrounding waters. However, the environment ministry notes that 195 businesses, along with more than 4,000 residential customers, are not connected to sewer lines.
For concerned tourists, this closure is thankfully a temporary measure.
Environmental undersecretary Jonas Leones said that the closure would involve having airlines and ferries suspend their Boracay services and making the beaches off-limits, and stationing police there “if necessary”.
“An iron fist is needed to bring it back to its previous condition. It will be a temporary thing.” He added.