Lonely Planet Writer

Popular Philippines island set to close to tourists for a clean-up

The popular tourist island of Boracay in the Philippines is set to close for six months beginning 26 April in a bid to clean up the area to make it more environmentally friendly.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte put forward the idea for the island’s closure to tourists citing environmental concerns surrounding sewage. According to the Philippine Star, the country’s environment secretary Roy Cimatu seconded Duterte’s suggestion that will allow solid waste management facilities to be installed.

Shangri La resort
Boracay is an incredibly popular tourist destination in Asia. Image by GettyImages/vuk8691

With the help of residents on the island, the clean-up operation could take less than six months. Officials hope this environmentally conscious move will contribute to the island’s sustainability in the long-term.

Rowen Aguirre, Malay municipal executive assistant for Boracay affairs said that they would comply with the decision of the President and the national government. “We will do what we can within our capacity, to help the rehabilitation of the island,” he told the Inquirer.

the friday beach
The white sand attracts hoards of tourists to the small island. Image by GettyImages/Zhang Zheng

Boracay is a small island at just 7km tall with a 4km stretch of white beach that draws tourists from across Asia. The beach is typically awash with visitors with the sand lined from one end to the other with hotels, diving shops and restaurants.

According to the Department of Tourism in the Philippines, 1 million foreign tourists visited in Boracay last year while the entire country hosted 6.6 million tourists. The looming closure will affect many of its tourists including foreign visitors mostly from China and Korea.

Famed for its white sands and blue sailed boats, it’s hoped that the closure with contributing to the long-term sustainability of the island. Image by GettyImages/Zhang Zheng

However, this move is just one of many green initiatives that people across the world have been engaging in to improve the environment. Off the coast of Catalonia, Sea2See, use rubbish collected from plastic pollution in the ocean to create a range of fashionable and sustainable eyewear. All of their frames are made from 100% recycled plastic and each pair of sunglasses means 10 kg less waste in the ocean.

This article was originally published on 28 March 2018 and updated 5 April.