Tourism pause helps clean up island


A couple enjoys a view of White Beach amid the coranavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Boracay Island, Aklan province, Philippines, November 29, 2021. Picture taken November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

FOR 23-year-old Samuel Garilao, the beaches on the popular island of Boracay have never been cleaner and the water never clearer.

Garilao is used to seeing the tiny but over-developed island crowded with tourists, and struggling with a waste problem so bad that President Rodrigo Duterte closed it in 2018, calling it a “sewer pool”.

But with the Philippines largely shut off from the outside world due to the Covid-19 pandemic and with domestic tourism tightly managed, Boracay has had a rare chance to recover.

“When the lockdown started, we saw less trash because there were no tourists coming in. And the local residents of Boracay decided to take this time to unite and clean up the beach front,” Garilao said.

Duterte’s six-month closure of the island had done little to fix Boracay’s problems.

Two million visitors came in 2019, bringing US$1bil (RM4.3bil) in revenue, and a return of garbage pile-ups, rampant land encroachment and thick fumes from constant traffic along its narrow, clogged roads. — Reuters

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Samuel Garilao , Boracay ,

   

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