‘Di kinaya ng closure? EMB: Boracay groundwater remains polluted

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With some two months to go before Boracay Island is reopened to tourists, its groundwater remains polluted, the Environmental Management Bureau lamented.

However, the EMB-6 – an agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – said the coliform level in the groundwater has gone down.

“(T)he good thing is that it has reduced during the rehabilitation period,” EMB-6 legal chief Ramar Niel Pascua said (

He said the coliform level in three barangays of Boracay as of June 2018 is still above the standard of 100 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (ml).

Barangay Yapak posted roughly 400MPN per 100ml while Manoc-Manoc and Balabag have more than 1,000MPN per 100 ml each.

Coliform bacteria, which are present in the environment and in the feces of warm-blooded animals and humans, is not likely to cause illness but may indicate disease-causing organisms in the water system.

Pascua said groundwater contamination has been a problem long besetting the island, which was closed last April 26 for environmental rehabilitation.

In 2001, the National Water Resources Board issued a moratorium on groundwater extraction in the island by banning the drilling and digging of new wells.

Human wastes from wetlands also contribute to the contamination of groundwater through seepage.

Earlier, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said groundwater contamination remains a challenge in the rehabilitation of Boracay.

The DENR sought the help of the Department of Health to address the problem of high coliform levels.