TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- President Rodrigo Duterte called The Philippines' famous tourist destination Boracay a "cesspool" as the sewage and garbage problem was destroying the island's ecosystem and posing a threat to the health of visitors on Feb. 9.
Duterte ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to clean up Boracay and threatened to close the island if the environmental issues are not addressed in 6 months. Boracay's sewage problems worsened due to inadequate support from the national government, citing the island's drainage system, which had yet to be completed more than 10 years after the project started.
In 2015, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cracked down on commercial establishments that started to pollute Boracay.
However, according to Department of Tourism spokesman, Ricky Alegre, there were still a considerable number of establishments were draining their sewage directly into the sea. The establishments were also building too close to the beach and spilling over into the roads of the 1,000-hectare island. Furthermore, out of the 150 establishments recently inspected by the government, only 25 were connected to the sewage system.
Also, overpopulation was also a problem for the island-resort. Boracay attracts at least 2 million tourists annually, and the carrying capacity of the island has been exceeded.
Duterte warned this situation was a looming environmental "disaster" and a "tragedy" that could soon in turn drive visitors away from the island, located about 190 kilometers south of Manila.