“Stagnating” Boracay could go into terminal decline, warn experts

a boracay tourists
Is it all downhill from here for “stagnating” Boracay?

Environmentalists and urban planners have warned that Boracay has hit its “stagnation stage” due to over-development.

The Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners (PIEP) and Alliance for Safe, Sustainable & Resilient Environments (ASSURE) issued a statement this week outlining how resorts like Boracay have an inevitable “life cycle”.

Stagnation is the fifth stage of this process before a resort is either rejuvenated or goes into terminal decline.

The statement comes amid reports that Boracay’s waters and surroundings are being polluted because of untreated wastewater and improper sewage management. We have also reported on concerns about trash building up on the island and mess left by visitors. Read more here, here and here.)

The statement read: “That this is not the first time these conditions have been reported makes us deeply concerned with its potentially catastrophic impact on not only Boracay’s tourism industry but more importantly on its residents’ and visitors’ health, safety and wellbeing.”

While accepting that deterring tourism would hit the local economy, they warned that business as usual would cause Boracay to “exceed the natural environment’s capacity to cleanse itself.”

“It is obvious that the island’s burgeoning tourism growth is escalating the island’s environmental degradation which inevitably will impact on Boracay’s attractiveness as a prime tourist destination,” the statement continued.

Since the turn of the millennium, visitor numbers have mushroomed from about 230,000 per year to 1.7 million last year.

“It therefore appears that, considering the rapidly increasing volume of visitors to Boracay, combined with the weak management of its environment, the capacity of the island to sustain its residents’ and businesses’ health, safety and wellbeing is under serious threat of being exceeded and thus may subsequently result in decline,” the report concluded.

PIEP and ASSURE recommend the following actions to prevent terminal decline:

Strict enforcement of existing environmental and sanitation ordinances

Installation of wastewater treatment facilities and connection to a sewage treatment plant by establishments and residences

Promotion of ecologically responsible behaviour

Assessment of the ecological “carrying capacity” of the island