Picturesque island being turned into a ‘cesspool’ because of too many tourists | World | News

Nestled amongst the many islands of the Philippines exists the small yet beautiful Boracay, home to gorgeous white beaches and turquoise oceans. However, due to an immense rise in tourism over the last few years, the island is at risk of becoming permanently damaged from the human effect on the natural environment.

The once idyllic waters were being muddied with raw sewage due to 200 tourism-based businesses that were not connected to the island’s sewage system.

Also, litter from the constant presence of tourists was having a hugely negative impact upon the island. In 2018 drastic measures were taken by then-president Rodrigo Duterte to close the island from tourists for six months, calling it a “cesspool”.

Drastic attempts were made during this closure to restore the island to its former serenity, making it a place of sustainable ecotourism. A new and upgraded sewer system was constructed, and strict rules were enforced in order to preserve the tranquil beaches, such as: ’NO STRUCTURES’, and ‘NO FIRE DANCING’.

Another set of changes made to the island was the widening of roads in order to ease overcrowding, and the removal of parts of buildings that were too close to the water.

While this measure has proved effective, it has come at a price for some of Boracay’s business owners. Speaking to the New York Times, Winnie Levai, owner of Habagat Kiteboarding’s open air bar, explained that he had to demolish his school and restaurant, moving them back from the beach for the hefty sum of £158,000.

There were also restrictions placed upon the island on the amount of visitors present at any time, with the number being limited to 6,400 arrivals per day, and 19,215 tourists at any given time.

Since reopening, the new changes have brought about both positive and negative impacts. On the one hand, the congestion of tourists on the island has greatly decreased, which brings cleaner beaches and a less polluted ocean. However, due to the fact that the cap on tourists is unmonitored, it is regularly exceeded and the island is at times again placed under threat.

At the time of its closure, Boracay was placed on Country Living’s: ‘8 holiday destinations at risk of being ruined by tourism’, alongside places such as Bali in Indonesia, Cinque Terre in Italy and Machu Pichu in Peru. Since then, the island has undergone a vast improvement, but it still has a long way to go in battling the pollutive nature of tourism.

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