Due to lockdowns caused by the pandemic, Boracay Island had a rare chance to heal itself

Due to lockdowns caused by the pandemic, Boracay Island had a rare chance to heal itself

Boracay Island, famous for its white powdery sand and crystal clear waters, but as time passed by, problems began to arise; who knew that the pandemic would actually help fight those problems.

According to a local tour guide Samuel Garilao, growing up on the Island, he is used to seeing the over-developed Boracay overcrowded with tourists.

As tourists flock to the Island, Boracay struggled with waste problems, and it was so bad that President Rodrigo Duterte described it as a "cesspool."

But, when the pandemic came, the Philippines closed its borders, and even domestic tourism came to a halt; Boracay Island had a once in a blue moon chance to rest and recover.

Garilao saw for himself that the white beach had never been more cleaner, and the waters never more pellucid.

"When the lockdown started, we saw less trash because there were no tourists coming in. And the local residents of Boracay decided to take this time to unite and clean up the beachfront," Garilao said in a report by Reuters.

When Duterte closed the Island for six months, it had only fixed a few of Boracay's problems.

Back in 2019, two million tourists visited the shores of Boracay; not only tourists and revenues return, but pile-ups of garbage, rampant land encroachment, and thick fumes from constant traffic along its narrow, clogged roads came back as well.

Natividad Bernardino, head of Boracay's rehabilitation program, said the Island's lockdown was a boon for marine life that was dwindling.

"We've spotted the return of whale sharks, baby sharks, and sea turtles. Some have started nesting on the northern part of Boracay," she said.

"So these are some positive effects of the lockdowns. The environment is able to regenerate itself naturally," Natividad added.

As the Covid-19 cases declined in the Philippines and more individuals got vaccinated, local tourism resumed in October, although businesses have yet to pick up.

In addition, the government pushed back its plan to reopen the country for international tourism due to the threat of the Omicron variant.

(Reuters)


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