About that viral discharge of murky water to Boracay beach after supposed rehab

September 2, 2019 - 4:30 PM
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DENR seals Boracay pipeline
The DENR permanently sealed the pipeline discharging untreated wastewater directly to the sea. The pipeline was caught on a video that went viral shortly after it was posted Aug. 28, 2019. (DENR)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources permanently sealed a pipeline seen discharging black water directly to Bulabog Beach on Boracay Island last week.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda identified the pipeline as a storm drain that supposedly carries excess water from roads and sidewalks after heavy rainfall. It is used to prevent flooding in the streets.

Antiporda claimed the pipeline did not emit sewage water but dirt accumulated from heavy rainfall.

Tested as “safe,” the discharged water, he said, does not increase coliform levels.

Nevertheless, the agency said it sent its staff to seal the drainage canal on the same day the report reached them.

LOOK: The DENR permanently sealed the pipeline discharging untreated wastewater directly to the sea. The said pipeline was caught on a video that went viral last Wednesday (August 28).

Posted by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday, August 29, 2019

 

Open pipeline

On August 27, a video posted by Facebook user Jerry Villavivencio Buatis went viral. It featured an open pipeline that directly emitted grayish to black water in the waters of Bulabog Beach.

The first video he took featured the pipeline itself while the second video traced the shoreline where the pipeline ends.

“Makikita niyo sa dagat kung gaano kaitim ang nilalabas ng pipe na ‘yan. Kung maamoy niyo lang sana, kayo na magsasabi kung gaano kabaho,” Buatis wrote in his post.

Bigla akong nalungkot 😌Edit… Sa second video. From 0 to 2 seconds. Yan yung dulo ng pipe. Makikita nyo sa dagat kung…

Posted by Jerry Villavicencio Buatis on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

 

In the comments section of the post, Buatis claimed officials immediately saw the open pipeline the day he and his companions learned about it.

“Huling-huli din ng mga taga DENR. Sila ‘yung mga kausap namin. Nag-spot check sila. Nadaanan nila,” he wrote.

Buatis also claimed that the pipeline was diffusing an unpleasant smell to the air.

“Hinanap ko lang kung ano ‘yung umaalingasaw na mabaho. Amoy imburbal talaga. Tapos bumulaga sa amin ‘yang pipe na ‘yan,” he shared.

The locals of the area also warned them against swimming on the beach where the waters were dirty and smelly.

“We decided na maligo. Pero mismong Aklanon ang nag-saway sa amin. ‘Wag raw kaming maligo dahil mabaho at madumi daw ‘yung tubig,” Buatis added.

Sure, it’s a ‘storm drain’ but it had an illegal, murky past

This is not the first time that Bulabog Beach was tagged for exposed pipelines.

Last year, months before President Rodrigo Duterte formally closed Boracay for environmental rehabilitation, a drainage pipe directly emitting black wastewater to the waters of Bulabog was discovered.

A foreigner, who was a kite surfing teacher, had an infection after he was exposed to the waters for “six hours.”

Two months after, the area was officially closed following a presidential proclamation that noted “high concentration of fecal coliform in the Bulabog beaches” were discovered due to “insufficient sewer lines and illegal discharge of untreated wastewater into the beach.”

“Most commercial establishments and residences are not connected to the sewerage infrastructure of Boracay Island, and waste products are not being disposed of through the proper sewerage infrastructures in violation of environmental law, rules, and regulations,” it added.

Locals believed that when Duterte ordered the famous island to be rehabilitated due to environmental concerns, he was particularly referring to the Bulabog beach area.

Restaurateur Jose Carlos Remedios, who is also a long-time Boracay resident, shared that the drainage system in the area—  called a “storm drain”—was originally meant to expel excess rainwater during heavy rainfall.

“But they found that a lot of illegal connections to the drainage system were made by establishments wanting to get rid of their wastes. Thus, what was being expelled out into the sea in Bulabog beach wasn’t just rainwater, but waste as well,” Remedios said.

Bulabog Beach is a less crowded area located on the east side of the island opposite the more populous spot White Beach.

The laidback community is considered the “water sports center” of the popular tourist destination where activities such as kiteboarding and windsurfing are practiced by enthusiasts and professionals alike.