Following a six-month closure, Boracay finally reopened to the public on Friday, 26 October – attracting more than 6,000 tourists over the weekend alone
In April, President Rodrigo Duterte described the island as a "cesspool".
He added that businesses, hotels, and restaurants had been dumping their waste and destroying the island's clean waters and pristine white sandy beaches.
As a result, the island was shut from tourists for six months so that it could recover.
Before the island reopened, new rules were set in place:
- Beach parties, smoking, and drinking are now banned,
- Vendors, masseuses, fire dancers, and water sports are not allowed on the beaches anymore,
- Moored boats that used to be fixed on the waters for years were forced to move elsewhere, and
- A maximum of 19,000 visitors are allowed on the island daily.
During the six-month closure, authorities also removed illegal sewage pipes and closed and demolished unregistered hotels. However, work is still ongoing.
Unfortunately, piles of garbage have been found littered around the island within a week of the island's reopening
Despite extra garbage bins provided and reminders to visitors about not littering, people had still thrown rubbish along the beaches
Paper cups, plastic straws, cigarette butts, and plastic bags were found scattered around the island.
DENR replied to a user's comment on its post saying that it plans to "install [high-resolution] CCTV cameras" in public spaces in Boracay to catch littering guests.
We wonder if Philippines might consider banning single-use plastics in the future like the Malaysian government intends.
Maya Beach in Thailand was also recently closed indefinitely to help the island recover from tourist pollution: