El Nido still open to tourists but DENR eyes shut down of households, establishments violating envi laws
DENR gives local task force 20 days to determine violators in its bid to rehabilitate El Nido in three months
Aug 5, 2019
It seems it was only yesterday that we were taking pride of Palawan and its islets that was hailed as the second best island in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. Today, the island, specifically El Nido, is facing a six-month rehabilitation imposed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) back in November.
The latest development in this effort is a task force to be formed by the local DENR unit that will determine the culprit among households and establishments in the area that are violating environmental laws.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu is giving the interagency task force 20 days to submit a list of these violators to be shut down following the discovery that outfalls in the resort town have high coliform levels and therefore are unfit for swimming. Said locations which include Corong-Corong, El Nido Estero, Masagana and Cabugao have since been closed off to tourists.
The El Nido Estero outfall, for example, registered a staggering coliform count of 16 million most probable number (MPN) for every 100 milliliters based on a survey down in April. That’s far beyond the recommended safe levels pegged at 100 MPN per 100 ml.
Although the rehabilitation efforts are on-going, Cimatu assured the public that there will be no closure unlike in Boracay, which undergone an intensive clean up last year.
According to the last national census in 2015, the island town is inhibited by 41,000 people with an annual number of visitors reaching 200,000.
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