Sampulna forming new team to conduct study on Boracay’s recurring algal bloom
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna is forming a team of experts to conduct additional studies on the occurrence of algal blooms in the coastal waters of Boracay Island.
“I am still forming a team. I want the study conducted by the UP (University of the Philippines) Marine Science Institute (MSI) and the DENR. We will work together to make the report credible,” Sampulna said.
UP-MSI has been one of the DENR’s long-time partners in conducting research to protect the country’s marine ecology and biodiversity.
DENR conducted its study of Boracay Island in 2017 before the government launched its rehabilitation in 2018.
Research by the DENR-Region 6 (Western Visayas), where Sampulna served as regional executive director, found that untreated wastewater was causing algal blooms in Boracay. Soaps and detergents being flushed out to the sea have also been named as suspects behind the recurrence of green algae in the country’s top tourist destination.
The DENR chief is hoping to conduct another study with the help of UP-MSI to better understand the recurrence of algal blooms in Boracay’s waters despite lower coliform levels brought about by the ongoing rehabilitation of the island.
Sampulna assured that the water in Boracay is very clean, and said he is focused on completing the rehabilitation of Boracay Island, among other priority programs, before his term ends in June.
As of February 2022, the coliform level in Boracay’s front beach was measured at 11 most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100mL). This shows that the island’s waters meet the water quality standard suitable for swimming, skin diving, and other recreational activities.
The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force and Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group are continuously monitoring the water quality in Boracay, and are strictly enforcing environmental laws to protect the world-class island resort. ###