The fear of being closed for rehabilitation like the toursit destination Boracay Island, Sumilon island government officials had ordered a temporary closure of Sumilon islands’ sandbar and diving site from all tourists. The schedule of temporary closure was set for last April 10 to 16 of this month. The purpose of the closure is for clean up and rehabilitation.
Now, 3 days after the clean up campaign around two tons of assorted waste were already collected by participants of a coastal clean-up on the sandbar and adjacent areas in Sumilon Island in Oslob. The first day of a week-long operation. Oslob Mayor Jose “Jun” Tumulak Jr. told SunStar Cebu he was surprised by the huge amount of garbage they collected around the sandbar and adjacent areas at the start of the operation, for which the town has closed the sandbar and dive sites to tourists. More than 200 people from different groups joined the Oslob town officials in the clean-up drive yesterday. Bearing garbage sacks and brooms, the participants started their clean up on the sandbar at 7 a.m. and kept working until 3 p.m. Tumulak said that among the trash found were plastics, broken bottles, rubber tires that may have been dumped by some pumpboats, and other wooden and plant debris. Efforts to clean up Oslob are taking place ahead of the closure, for six months, of Boracay’s tourist facilities starting on April 26.
The lack of proper waste treatment facilities in Boracay has been blamed for contamination of its beaches. Some participants like members of the Bancogon-Oslob Fisherfolks Association (BOFA) collected garbage underwater. Around 35 of them participated in yesterday’s activity. Aside from BOFA, other participants in the clean-up included employees of the Oslob Municipal Government, officers and personnel from the Navy and their reservists; private tourism stakeholders, pumpboat operators, and their crew; and scuba divers. Today, the mayor said, the divers will focus on cleaning up the marine sanctuary and three other dive sites. “Kung daghan pa ang hugaw nga among nakolekta sa mabaw pa lang, wala pa ta kibaw kung pila pa ang among makuha sa ilawom (Considering how much garbage we collected in the shallow areas, we have no idea how much we will gather underwater),” Tumulak said. After three days of coastal and underwater clean-up, the remaining four days will be for the sites to recharge, he said.
Sumilon Island is situated off the southeastern tip of Cebu and is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Oslob, though the island is being managed by Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort. It is a 24-hectare island and is withing the first marine protected area in the Philippines. It was mad a fish sanctuary in 1974 under the guidance of Siliman University Marine Reserve.
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