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Where is the paradise called Boracay?
For decades, Boracay has been one of the Philippine’s top island destinations. But with forests converted to hotels to accommodate an average of 1,000 tourists daily, the island is now hot, full, and crowded.
It’s far from the paradise that Boracay was 20 years ago, when people could walk in the moonlight using flashlights without seeing plastic sachets and bottles along the shore, recalls Chit Juan, founder of ECHOstore, in her Business World column.
Blast from the Past: Boracay 20 years ago
Boracay before high-rise hotels and late-night parties became the norm.
Boracay needs a rest. Otherwise, the next generations may never see its beauty, Chit adds.
The surge of tourist arrivals in Boracay has spawned waste management issues. In 2017 alone, Boracay reached a new record of 2,001,974 tourists and generated P56,147,744,220.60 in tourism receipts, according to the Aklan Provincial Tourism Office.
While massive tourism has boosted the provinces’ economy, this has also caused serious environmental degradation.
Describing Boracay as a “cesspool,” President Rodrigo Duterte slammed the island’s restaurants, hotels, and other establishments for dumping sewage into the sea.
President Duterte ordered a 6-month closure of Boracay starting April 26 to check each establishment’s compliance to environmental rules and regulations, fix the sewerage and garbage disposal systems, and demolish illegal structures on forest lands. Business owners who violate environmental laws may face cease and desist orders, or even criminal charges.
The country is blessed with rich biodiversity and natural resources. What happened to Boracay serves as a warning. As a traveller, you can contribute to sustainable tourism.
Let’s not wait for other Philippine tourist destinations to face the same fate as Boracay before we take action. If you’re planning to head to the beach this summer, here are simple tips on how to be a responsible tourist.
The Philippines is “the third-worst polluter into the world’s oceans,” next only to China and Indonesia, according to Greenpeace. Plastic wastes not only destroy the beauty of the seas but also kill marine life.
Reducing consumption is the best way to minimize plastic wastes, according to experts. Instead of buying bottled water when you travel, bring your own tumbler. When dining at a restaurant or buying cold drinks, try not to use straw. For your travel kit, use refillable bottles instead of buying sachets. Travel-size eco-friendly toiletries for the family such as ECHOstore After Shower Body Oil, ECHOkids head-to-toe wash, and Hair Gugo Shampoo Traveller are available at echostore.ph.
Support the local economy by buying souvenirs from local shops. But when you shop, carry your own eco-friendly bag like ECHOstore’s bag with pouch so you can say “no” to plastic bags.
With unregulated development and the influx of visitors, plastic bottles and sachets on shorelines have become a common sight in most beaches in the country. The simple act of throwing your trash into the proper garbage bin and picking up trash you see on the beach can make a difference.
Be a responsible tourist and let’s help prevent a repeat of the #BoracayClosure.
Featured image: IS BORACAY PARADISE? by Anna of Slightly Astray (slightlyastray.com)