As youth deteriorates with age, an island as beautiful as Boracay also has no complete protection from the ravages of both nature and man.
There will come a time when human contact to the island would create some irreversible harm that could render it less to the liking of tourists as it is now. Hence, local organisations and environmentalist groups have formed initiatives in order to delay the negative changes to the island—best to nip those issues right in the bud before they become uncontrollable. Here are some ways people who have fallen in love with Boracay can give back to the little jewel of nature:
The Boracay Initiative
This call to action for the stakeholders and local government units outlines the framework for sustainable tourism, conservation, and social responsibility for Boracay. Hailing “Less Conversation, It’s Time for Action,” this 2010 proposition focuses on providing educational and training programs on sustainability and capacity training for the community, public and private stakeholders, LGUs, and businesses.
The implementation of conservation agreements has become the top mission of the initiative. Points for good governance, carrying capacity, and zoning limit have been identified. Likewise, efficiency in water use, utilisation of renewable energy, and management of wastewater have also been ongoing ordinances on the island. With support from partners like Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels, and The Clean Blue Asia, The Boracay Initiative is also able to mitigate damage from disasters through disaster prevention and management efforts.
Role of businesses and individuals
After the implementation of the set-back zoning limit on the island, a majority of establishments within 30 metres from the shoreline have been relocated to the islands. However, some have ignored the rule and continued operating past the window period for the relocation. This calls for tourists to be active travelers by not patronising establishments heedless of the conservation law.
There are several ways to help the island keep its pristine beauty. Local and foreign tourists can do basic eco-friendly actions like keeping small pieces of trash until a bin is spotted, using paper bags and reusable containers and opting for walking or biking to go around the island.
Businesses have bigger roles to play since their impact on the environment can be more detrimental. Every establishment must not channel wastewater to the sea, must have an organised solid waste management method (like recycling reusable materials), and must lower carbon imprint by utilizing sustainable energy sources. Business owners must see the longer benefits that come with investing in solar panels, biodiesel, and waste management system.
Past conservation effort
The Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines, an affiliate of the international organisation of the same name that brings together youth and citizens creating positive change, rolled out “Sama Ka, Let’s Protect Boracay!” campaign on 4 August 2012. The cleanup initiative aimed at keeping Boracay clean and saving its natural resources in order to maintain its high standing as a global tourist destination.
According to JCI public relations and marketing officer Ana Pista, it would be a setback for the country’s tourism if the island was voted down due to environmental reasons. Hence, the campaign sought to gather one million signatures, the same amount of donation the organisation’s sponsors would give to support Boracay.
The island-wide coastal cleanup facilitated by the local Malay government and the Boracay Chamber of Commerce and Industry collected and segregated tons of garbage from over 500 resorts and establishments on the island.
This kick-off campaign, according to JCI National President Randolf Ivan Ruste, would be more effective if the children and tourists in Boracay would know how to protect and preserve the island through proper waste disposal.