The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced last July 26 their recommendation to close down certain areas in El Nido, Palawan due to poor water quality. This follows the government’s efforts to environmentally conserve popular tourist areas in the Philippines. Aside from the Boracay clean-up, environment officials have been vigilant in policing establishments which violate environmental laws.
It seems that despite the mobility of authorities in Palawan regarding existing protections for the environment, it is not enough to make a significant change. At least not for Bacuit Bay and Corong-Corong Outfall, whose waters reach a highly alarming fecal coliform level. According to the DILG, it is “in dreadful condition with one outfall’s fecal coliform level reaching more than 3.4M MPN (most probable number)/100 ML.” To put this in perspective, the safe level for swimming would be 100mpn.
A 3-month closure would allow the government agency to find the source of the dirty water and treat it. As the dangerous state of water is “compounded by the presence of informal settler families, non-enforcement of easement regulations on outfalls, and unregulated dry-docking and mooring activities” there is a need to effectively handle these. One way is the banning of water activities in order to “preserve the area and prevent tourists and locals from contracting diseases.”
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