It’s now safe to swim at Boracay’s ‘long white beach’

More than two months after its closure and ongoing rehabilitation, the quality of water, particularly at the long beach of the island of Boracay in Malay, Aklan is now within the standards. This was confirmed by Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) for Boracay, lawyer Richard Fabila, on Thursday.

Fabila said the fecal coliform concentration level of the water already decreased.

“Before [the closure], it is really failing. It’s unsafe, but now based on statistics and laboratory tests conducted by the EMB (Environmental Management Bureau), it already passed [the standards],” he said.

Teams from EMB are conducting daily and weekly analysis of the water quality on the island in the various testing sites of the long beach.

On Thursday morning, a team from the EMB-6 (Western Visayas) conducted an on-site analysis of water quality in one of its testing sites in front of Casa Pilar, starting with the temperature of the water at 30 degrees Celsius.

Based on the summary of the results, the pH of the sea water is at neutral level or seven; its salinity is 3,100 ppm (parts per million) (normal); and dissolved oxygen is at 7.6 (normal).

The result of the fecal coliform concentration level of the water is to be released after 18 hours as it needs to undergo laboratory tests.

The safe level for the coliform is 400 MPN (most probable number) per 100 ml (milliliters). The salinity level is 3,000 to 5,000 ppm.

Since the illegal pipes discharging wastewater to the beach have been excavated in the previous month, Fabila said the water quality around the island is improving. He said that about three illegal pipes from the establishments were excavated at the long beach.

“It (long beach) is now safe for swimming,” he stressed.

In fact, Fabila said that the entire long white beach of the island was already opened to local residents last June 24.

Since April 26, residents were only allowed to swim 150 meters away from both sides of the Willy’s rock located at the Station 1.

However, Fabila said that the water quality at the back beach of the island or Bulabog beach is still not within the standards because the plugging of illegal connections to the drainage systems is still ongoing.

It has been reported that Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Wednesday night also noted that the beach of Boracay is already clean.

It was in February this year when President Rodrigo Duterte tagged the island as “cesspool”, which prompted him to close the island from tourists for six months to pave way for its rehabilitation.

Boracay island is expected to reopen this October 26. PNA