By: Jennifer P. Rendon
AUTHORITIES have reopened a portion of Boracay Island late afternoon of Aug 15, 2019 after it was tested safe for swimming and other related activities.
On Wednesday morning, an area of around 100 meters Boracay’s Station 1 was cordoned off following a viral video of a foreign tourist who appeared to have washed her child who defecated in the beach area.
Boracay Interagency Rehabilitation Group General Manager Natividad Bernardino said they reopened the area following the water quality testing by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-6 showing that the coliform level in the area is less than 1 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliter (ml).
When Boracay Island reopened after a 6-month rehabilitation in October 2018, the coliform level was at 18 MPN/100ml, which is a significant development from “thousands or even millions” MPN/100ml prior to the island’s closure in April 2018, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu was earlier quoted as saying.
Coliform refers to a wide variety of bacteria that can be found throughout the environment, including human and animal feces. The standard or safe coliform level in bodies of water is 100 MPN/100 ml.
Bernardino said Cimatu ordered the immediate reopening of the closed portion after the result was released.
Bernardino earlier said she will call for a meeting with the local government to prevent a similar incident from happening.
While there are signage in the beach front area, Bernardino said they plan to distribute pamphlets to tourists bound for Boracay while they are still on the plane.
The pamphlets will give tips on proper garbage disposal and appropriate places for defecation.
“I hope this incident will send a message to all tourists to observe discipline,” she said.
MORE BEACH GUARDS
More beach guards will be visible in the white beach area of Boracay Island, following the viral “defecation” story of a foreign tourist.
Mayor Frolibar Bautista of Malay town, Aklan said the augmentation of beach guards will bolster their campaign to maintain cleanliness and order in the island.
Currently, the local government employs 81 beach guards in the island.
Bautista said he plans to deploy a 140-member beach guard force.
“They would help in enforcing our environmental laws and set of guidelines while in the island,” he said.
They will also prevent theft incidents, especially mobile phone stealing.
Beach guards will also take charge of stray dogs loitering in the island.
They are expected to caution and, if necessary, arrest those who pee and wantonly throw garbage.
Bautista said they might not be able to identify the tourist involved in the incident but they will impose measures to prevent it from happening again.
The Malay local executive already called for a meeting with Boracay tourist guides today, Aug. 16.
Currently, there are more than a hundred tourist guides from several accredited travel agencies in Boracay.
“I would discuss with them that from their end, they should orient their guests on the do’s and don’t’s when they visit the island,” he said.
Bautista said he would stress the importance of helping maintain Boracay’s cleanliness.
Before Boracay was ordered closed on April 2018, there were two public toilets near the beach front area.
However, they were demolished because they were built on the “no build” zones.
Bautista said he would talk with the Boracay Interagency Rehabilitation Group on the possibility of building public toilets near the beach front area “so that we would give them no reason why they had to relieve themselves in public places.”