Strict enforcement of environmental laws

ONE big thing learned from last year’s Boracay debacle – its closure for six months primarily due to the abuse and misuse of its environment – was that the local government of Malay, Aklan, the provincial government of Aklan and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources were not capable of protecting and preserving the world-famous island and the country’s top tourism revenue earner. Thus the proposal of Ilonggo senator Franklin Drilon to create a “Boracay Development Authority” to manage and develop the island resort makes sense.

But it all boils down to this: strict enforcement of environmental laws in Boracay. This is what is primarily needed. The government should work hard to make Boracay a model for ecological management, specifically solid waste management (ESWM). The island, known for its white sand beaches and pristine waters, will lose its attractiveness fast if tourists find it unclean.

All concerned authorities must exercise utmost vigilance especially in monitoring compliance to or violation of environmental laws such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003) and the Clean Water Act (Republic A 9275).

Yes, there must be a stronger implementation of Republic Act 9003 and full compliance to it – actually by all local government units in the country and not only in Boracay.

According to the Environment department DENR, there are still hundreds of local governments with open dumpsites, which are prohibited under the law. By the way, materials recovery facilities in communities need not be expensive. These should be made only from recycled and indigenous materials. Everyone can practice waste segregation in the office and at home.

Let us make Boracay a model green island that exercises the elements of a blue economy, respecting and protecting the water around it.

Let us do the same in other tourist havens.

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