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Daily Archives: April 15, 2010

Boracay’s algae bloom

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My body still feels like mush after our Boracay escapade. My wife fared even worse: aside from suffering a 39.8-degree fever, she had diarrhea last night. The high fever still lingers.

Was it really because of the heat? Or is it something else?

Years ago, I’ve heard news about “the end of Boracay” or something like that. I never paid much attention to it because I’ve never dreamt my entire life that I’d be there one day. But as an environmentalist, the feeling of disappointment was there. Boracay is an internationally famous island. To say that pollution has ruined it is a big chokeslam to our ecotourism industry.

During the last few years starting 1996, there have been scientific tests on the waters of Boracay. Shockingly, it was discovered that the waters of Boracay have high concentrations of coliform bacteria, scientifically known as Escherichia coli. The best evidence of this: the high incidence of algae bloom or lumot.

We’ve talked to many people there in Boracay. They claim that the lumot is normal and even seasonal. They say that the algae bloom lasts from December to May. From June to November, the beaches are free of lumot. Some even claim that the lumot is the source of Boracay’s world-famous powdery white sand.

But reports I’ve found in the internet say otherwise. So which is which? And is this algae bloom – E. coli the cause of our sickness and malaise?

For a 1,038-hectare island populated with over 12,000 inhabitants and visited by more than 75,000 tourists every year, Boracay is undoubtedly overpopulated and severely congested. I don’t think it’s water sewage system can hold this kind of setup. Somebody I spoke with in Puerto Galera a few years ago told me that this is Boracay’s curse. As a very small island with too much people, its sewage system will remain a disaster no matter what they do with it. I hope he’s mistaken because Boracay is such a beautiful island to be laid to waste.

Is there a cover up happening for the sake of tourism? Just asking.

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