Boracay beach conceals illegal sewage pipes

A view of Boracay Island from the Mt. Luho View Deck in Barangay Yapak. Tall buildings can be seen jutting out of the island’s lush foliage. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO City – Boracay Island’s beachfront would be dug for hidden illegal sewage pipes.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 6, a team discovered an illegal sewage pipe buried less than a meter deep on the beach (Station 2 area) on Tuesday.

It discharged foul-smelling foamy water, said Director Jim Sampula.

The discovery made DENR to suspect there could be more similar pipes concealed under Boracay beach’s white sand.

“The whole stretch of the 2.5-kilometer beach would be dug,” said Sampulna.

The pipe found measured six inches in diameter. Sampulna ordered his men to trace the pipe’s origin.

The director said they learned about the pipe from concerned citizens.

“May suspetsa ako na may mas malaki pa dyan,” said Sampulna.

The matter would be brought to the attention of the Pollution Adjudication Board of the Environmental Management Bureau for further action.

“Kung ako masusunod, criminal charges should be filed against the violators. Pangalawa, hindi i-issue-han ng permit para wala na ‘yan,” said Sampulna.

The Boracay Foundation, a business industry association on the island, revealed in February that some business establishments do not want to pay to be connected to the sewage treatment plant in Boracay.

To be connected, an establishment needed to pay P1.3 million, said Henry Chusuey, chairman of the Boracay Foundation.

“They don’t want to pay (so) they just (discharge their wastewater) in(to the) drainage system,” he lamented.

Chusuey believed Boracay’s wastewater problem could be solved even “in two or three months” if stakeholders only follow environmental rules starting with being connected to the island’s wastewater treatment plant.

“If there are no violators, there would be no dirty water in Boracay,” said Chusuey.

President Rodrigo Duterte called Boracay a cesspool and ordered it closed for a six-month rehabilitation.

According to Environment secretary Roy Cimatu, fueling the island’s degradation over the years were runaway development, the influx of people beyond the island’s carrying capacity, poor implementation of environmental regulations, and encroachment of structures./PN


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