MANILA - The unfinished drainage system of Boracay island is one of the main reasons for the worsening pollution of its waters, a foundation working to protect the tourist hotspot said Sunday.
Nennette Aguirre-Graf, president of Boracay Foundation Inc., said the island's drainage system was designed for flood control, but some residents and establishments use it to dispose of wastewater and sewage.
The drainage is easily accessible because some of its sections were unfinished and the drainage canals are just made of hollow blocks, said Graf.
She added that her organization had been calling on the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), which built the drainage system, to address the problem for 8 years now.
"So yun ang isa sa mga una naming ipinanawagan 8 taon na ang nakakaraaan, na ang problemang ito ay puwedeng lumaki kapag hindi ginawan ng paraan," Graf told DZMM radio.
(This was one of the things we called for 8 years ago, that this problem would worsen if it wasn't addressed.)
Graf said Bolabog Beach, which lies opposite Boracay's more famous White Beach, has borne the brunt of the wastewater pollution.
The Tourism Department last Friday said around 200 commercial establishments face closure amid the government's drive to contain the contamination of the island's waters.
Graf said that a study need may be needed to determine the number of tourists or establishments that the island can accommodate.
"Ang ating carrying capacity, walang makapagsabi kung sobra na. Pero yung nakikita natin, siguro nga sobra na," she said referring to island's development.
(No study has been made about our carrying capacity, no one can say if it's been exceeded. But from what we see, maybe it's already too much.)
President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to "close" Boracay if the island's wastewater problem was not fixed within 6 months.
Workers and vendors in Boracay meanwhile fear that they might be the first to suffer the brunt of mandatory closures in the cleanup effort.
Boracay attracts more than 2 million tourists a year and brings in P56 billion pesos in annual revenues, the department and industry sources said.