Boracay pollution crackdown begins

MANILA Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered on Tuesday the closure of establishments that pollute the waters of Boracay Island, which President Rodrigo Duterte wants cleaned up in six months.

"Effective today, we'll close down those establishments," he announced at the 2018 Green Film Festival in Metro Manila.

Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) crackdown will continue until pollution problem in Boracay is addressed.

The move aims to help clean up Boracay while raising compliance with Republic Act 9275, or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, and other environmental regulations, he said.

Cimatu noted some establishments in Boracay are not connected to any sewage treatment facility and are instead discharging sewage and untreated wastewater into Boracay's environment.

Those establishments, he said, are not complying with environmental regulations.

Wastewater is a pollutant-laden waste in liquid state, according to RA 9275.

RA 9275 defines sewage as "water-borne human or animal wastes, excluding oil or oil wastes, removed from residences, building, institutions, industrial and commercial establishments, together with such groundwater, surface water, and stormwater, as may be present, including such waste from vessels, offshore structures, other receptacles intended to receive or retain waste or other places or the combination thereof."

Earlier, Cimatu said the DENR had begun coordinating with Department of Tourism (DOT) on identifying establishments that are directly

discharging untreated wastewater into Boracay waters.

DENR's coordination with DOT also aims to identify establishments that are merely connected to Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone

Authority's drainage system, he noted.

DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said such linking to the drainage system is illegal and has resulted in the system's pipes overflowing, thus, wastewater goes directly to Boracay's beach.

"Drainage pipes can only accommodate rainwater," Leones said.

He said all tourism establishments in Boracay must be connected to Boracay Island Water Company's sewage treatment plant instead.

Source: Philippine News Agency