Boracay no longer a cesspool – Cimatu

Ralf Rivas
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu says the island can be reopened by October 26, as planned

ALMOST EMPTY. The shores of Boracay are almost empty as the island is closed to tourists on April 26, 2018. File photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines– After just over two months of rehabilitation, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Boracay is no longer a cesspool.

Cimatu said the government is “on target” in decongesting the island and water quality has significantly improved.

“Mas mababa na [ang bacteria level ng tubig]…. Kasi noon medyo tumataas [o] bumababa [ang bacteria level], ngayon medyo steady na. And I can claim now na the pipes na pumupunta doon na hindi [dapat], wala na iyon,” Cimatu said on the sidelines of the 31st anniversary celebration of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

(The bacteria level in the water is now lower. The bacteria level used to fluctuate, but now it’s steady. And I can claim now that the pipes which are not supposed to be there are no longer there.)

The Environmental Management Bureau in Western Visayas had reported before rehabilitation that coliform bacteria levels in some areas reached as high as over 47,000 most probable number (mpn) per 100 milliliters (ml). The safe level is just 1,000 mpn per 100 ml.

Cimatu also said they can reopen the island by October 26. (READ: The glaring double standard in Duterte’s Boracay shutdown)

To maintain the cleanliness of Boracay, National Solid Waste Management Commission chief Eligio Ildefonso said they will order the local government to strictly enforce waste segregation.

Waste will be taken to mainland Aklan through a barge for proper disposal.

“After 10 years, the plan is to put up a waste-to-energy plant in the mainland,” Ildefonso said.

He added that there would be no waste-to-energy facility in Boracay itself. But GMA News Online reported that Boracay Water’s proposal for such a facility was granted “first option status” by the local government. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.