Sarmiento mulls ‘garbage in, garbage out’ policy to save Boracay

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Samar first-district Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento proposed on Thursday that a “garbage in, garbage out” policy should be strictly enforced on Boracay island.

The policy should cover even organic wastes, including human excrements, the lawmaker said in a statement.

“A zero garbage and waste retention policy should be observed on these small island resorts because there is really no space for them to handle large volumes of garbage generated by tourists,” Sarmiento said.

“They can impose additional fees from tourists to finance the regular collection of garbage and organic wastes which can be transported in mainland Panay using properly sealed barges. Quality of tourists should prevail over quantity,” he added.

“This will allow them to properly deal with waste and sewage problem in Boracay without causing too much financial burden on our LGUs,” Sarmiento said.

He said the six-month ultimatum given by President Rodrigo Duterte for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to clean up Boracay Island from filth and illegal structures is an imprimatur for Secretary Roy Cimatu to implement measures that should have been done years ago.

“We really appreciate President Duterte’s concern over the rapid decline of Boracay because there is really a need to institute swift and drastic steps to save the island,” he said.

“Hopefully, the hard lessons we are learning now from the situation in Boracay will help avert similar crisis in other premier tourist destinations in the country,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento, author of House Resolution 1087 exposing the “sordid and filthy state” of Boracay Island, said Boracay descended into its present condition primarily because of the negligence and lapses of persons supposed to be imposing the environmental laws in the resort island known for its white powdery beach, pristine waters and festive nightlife.

He lauded Cimatu’s decision to close down at least 300 establishments in Boracay for not having proper waste water disposal facilities but stressed that the DENR chief should also demand for accountability from responsible environment officials.