Editorial | Missing the point

The stir that the Boracay controversy has created has resulted in concerned agencies scampering for solutions to the garbage problem.

In the Davao Region for instance, the regional office of the Environmental Management Bureau, an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, issued a press statement over the weekend that it has intensified the monitoring of beaches to ensure that the coastal waters are safe for swimming.
The agency said that last year, it created the Regional Inter-Agency Technical Committee as it has been coordinating with other agencies in monitoring water quality of beaches that are go-to places of tourists, both foreign and local.
The agency said that last year, nine of those beach resorts in Samal were able to set up their septage treatment facilities. It added that it will continue to monitor of the resorts in all parts of the region as this is a priority of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu.
Cimatu’s plate is full as President Rodrigo R. Duterte has challenged him to restore order in Boracay in six months, otherwise he will order the tourist haven to be closed to visitors.
Of course, garbage treatment facilities are needed to ensure the cleanliness of the water, but government agencies seem to forget the main cause the problem. When people congregate in an area and their numbers go up indiscriminately, what must be expected are problems and garbage is just one of them.
There are destinations that have imposed a regulation on carrying capacity, but because the main motivation both of government and the business sector is revenue, they forget that inviting more tourists necessitates the establishments of key facilities that can at least curb the problems that they create.
Otherwise, although it is essential to look at the preparedness of the establishments in setting up basic facilities like septage treatment, it is also imperative for government to institute reforms that will limit the carrying capacity of any tourist destination.
Otherwise, the problems that this investment brings to the environment will continue to rear their ugly heads.


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