Most Popular Philippines Island Shutting Down for Sewage Cleanup

Boracay will be shut down for six months due to a waste treatment problem.

The Philippines has announced its best-known holiday island Boracay will be closed to tourists for six months over concerns that the once idyllic white-sand resort has become a "cesspool" tainted by dumped sewage. (AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

The Philippines’ government is shutting down the tropical island of Boracay for six months due to a waste treatment problem, reports Time. Boracay is known for its white sand beaches and lively nightlife, but more recently, its earned a reputation for raw sewage being dumped directly into the waters that tourists and vacationers swim in. In February, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte called the island a “cesspool” and complained that the water was “smelly.” He threatened to close the island then, but held off. Now, the suspension has been announced via Duterte’s spokesperson on Twitter.

According to officials, nearly 200 businesses and thousands of residents are not connected to underground sewer lines. Untreated waste is entering the natural water directly through the drainage system on the island. In February, 51 businesses were closed and the government threatened another 300 with fines for violating environmental regulations. Many fear the six-month shut down will dry up the tourism industry, which employs about 17,000 people on the island. In 2017, Boracay saw two million visitors and made about $1.07 billion in revenue.

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