Tourism is a significant division in country’s economy, offering more employment and profits into the country. Although, it can be damaging to the environment with some of our favorite destinations. In fact, it has been being destroyed by tourism.
Some tourist heavy-countries are tackling these issues in various ways to preserve them. Especially Vietnam, Thailand and The US wanted to prevent mess or damage from tourism and did so by shutting down the most famous places for a while. Lately, in the Philippines, Boracay is one of the most visited tourist destinations however the Philippines government declared that Boracay was closed to tourists starting 26 April 2018 for up to six months. During this time, no foreign tourists would be permitted to enter the island. What seems to be a paradise is now in trouble.
The Philippines has experienced a surge in tourists in recent years especially Boracay Island. It has been the country top tourist draw since the 1980s when its fine powdery sand and clear blue waters surrounded the island. Also The Philippines is rich with natural resources, being the number one in the world for marine biodiversity. However, The influx of tourists has created environmental problems that came to the attention of the local officials in Boracay.
Firstly, At least 300 hotels, resorts and inns have been ignoring an ordinance that requires them to build their own sewage and wastewater treatment facilities. These malpractices have led to an increase in the coliform bacteria level, which indicates fecal contamination and can cause diarrhea, in waters around Boracay. The dirty water results in “green tides” or algal blooms, now a common site in Boracay.
The tourism business construction to fix sewage and environment-related problems that have led President Rodrigo Duterte to describe it as a “cesspool” in 2017. “I will close Boracay. Boracay is a cesspool,” Duterte said in a speech during a business forum in Davao City. “You go into the water, it’s smelly”, he had said (World travel, 2018). The country’s president has blamed local businesses for contributing to the island’s mounting sewerage problems by dumping waste directly into its previously pristine waters.
The rest dispose of their wastewater by tapping into sewer lines that drain into the sea. The establishments not complying with most environmental ordinances and laws were supposedly caused by overcrowding, poor implementation of laws, and many other factors. What is needed is to increase the capacity of the sewerage and filtering system, to expand the sewerage pipe network.
Secondly, waste management issues, The Government found that rubbish generated per person on Boracay was more than three times higher than in the capital In 2017. LaBoracay party left 10,000kg of rubbish. Boracay suffered damage due to the visit of 2 million tourists in 2017.
The government said it was prepared to suffer a blow to tourism by closing Boracay for a massive clean-up such as waste disposal. People can see broken glass and cigarette butts in the beach. Tourists were allowed to drink and smoking on White Beach though after reopening these will be strictly prohibited and also, single-use plastic was banned on the island in 2018. In order to prevent pollution, the government has reduced the number of tourists arrivals a day. It will limit the number of tourists except for residents and workers on the island from 40,000 to 19,000 a day after reopening in October 2018.
Thirdly, hotels and restaurants continue to encroach on the protected zones by putting al fresco bars and beach beds on them. This is why the size of the beach continues to decrease in width every year. 85 establishments with permanent structures built in protected forestland.
Exacerbating the environmental damage is the illegal occupation of wetlands and forestlands by commercial establishments for tourism. Wetlands and forestlands are legally protected zones which must not be marred by man-made structures. The creeping expansion pushes out the indigenous insects, plants and animals from their natural habitat.
The Philippine needs to dismantle all illegal structures in wetlands, forestlands and however it will be difficult to demolish or move structures to conform to building regulations. This was because the effort before to limit construction was a total failure. It should also have been clear to responsible government officials both local and national that due to the size of the island, it cannot support unlimited structures and people without degrading the environment. Even the well-meaning attempts to plan carefully and not damage the land didn’t work. And sadly it is like this in many tourist gems. It also expressed that businesses themselves were the cause of Boracay’s problems. The government is also pursuing road widening measures and demolishing houses and structures infringing on environmental areas.
Lastly, Overcrowding tourist as one of the root causes of biodiversity loss and resource exploitation in Boracay. Protect indigenous people and the natural eco-heritage of the island. President Duterte has also been pressured to save Boracay’s social and cultural heritage, which is at risk of disappearing under the weight of tourism. With a land area of just 1,032 hectares, Boracay has received more than a million visitors for the last two years. This weight in tourist numbers has meant an increase in unmonitored snorkeling and diving activities, which are blamed for damaging the island’s benthic cover, or the lower ocean floor where tiny organisms live and act as a source of food for bottom-feeding animals. Benthic organisms are good indicators of water quality. Although One of the biggest reasons for finding Boracay is due to experience maritime activities, after reopening, unfortunately, there will be limited marine activities.
Boracay is the tourism crown jewel of the country and it belongs not only to the stakeholders of the island but the Filipino people. The island is due to was reopened in October 2018. , There are regulations issued to tourism by the Philippine government for the nature of Boracay, which has been difficult.
Developing countries especially Bali, Thailand and Vietnam see similar problems such as the capacity of the sewerage and filtering system also, encroaching on the protected zones. The government Planning and development of tourism in destinations should involve a wide range of interests, including participation and representation from poor communities.
The Government attempt to minimize the impact of tourist influx to the country’s wealth of natural resources will eventually help to preserve and even improve what the country has in store for its visitors, as well as the locals’ overall quality of life, and subsequently, for the future generations to come.