BORACAY – Diving and other water sports activities in this famed beach destination must be regulated, according to the Environment department.
A study that the DENR conducted showed that Boracay’s coral reefs have been degrading due to the unregulated diving activities.
The reef degradation is also caused by the proliferation of crown of thorns, a large starfish that preys upon hard or stony, coral polyps.
Aklan representative Carlito Marquez said the moratorium on water sports activities will give the corals time to recover by themselves.
“Tama na i-regulate ang waters sports activities sa isla dahil na rin sa mga accidents noon,” he added. “Masisira din ang ating coral reefs sa pagdaan ng mga bangka. Ang mga coral reefs na ngayon ay umuusbong ay baka mawala muli.”
The DENR has identified nine marine-protected areas in Boracay. These areas also double as designated scuba diving sites in the holiday island.
DENR undersecretary Sherwin Rigor said they will conduct an assessment to determine the impact of diving tourism on Boracay’s coral reefs.
Marquez said the DENR must assign parking areas for boats that will disembark passengers at White Beach boat stations.
Boat Stations 1 and 2 were chosen as entry points to the island pending the construction of the main road.
Marquez said dropping of anchors and dispensing of motor oils by motorboats at White Beach might damage the coral reefs.
“Ang ating engines sa mga bangka ay luma na rin at may posibleng may oil leaks. Baka ang swimmers natin may langis na pagnaligo,” he added.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said Boracay’s main road and sewage system project will be complete by June 2019.
“Ang first part ng proyekto natin na almost P500-million mula Cagban to Balabag ay matatapos natin this December,” DPWH undersecretary Roberto Bernardo said.
Only 25 of 225 establishments were allowed to operate in Boracay come Oct. 26 – the island’s official reopening.
A fresh set of guidelines will be imposed when the island resorts reopens, including the daily tourist cap and the ban on wild parties along its beaches. (With a report from Aklan Forum Journal/PN)