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Duterte slams top Philippine tourist island as 'cesspool'

AFP  |  Manila 

The Philippines' famous white-sand island destination is drowning in faeces and may need to be shut down to protect the health of millions of visitors, has warned. The fiery leader gave his brutal assessment of the country's top tourist draw as he told hotels, restaurants and other businesses on the tiny central island to clean up or he would ban tourism there. "I will close is a cesspool," told a business forum in his southern home city of late yesterday, according to an official transcript released by the presidential palace today. "You go into the water, it's smelly. Smell of what? Shit.

Because it all comes out in Boracay," he said. Red-faced tourism department officials affirmed Duterte's assessment today, saying it reflected worsening sewage conditions on an island known globally for its pristine white sands and crystal clear waters. "It's a shame that Boracay, which has repeatedly been recognised by as the world's most beautiful island, may yet end up a paradise lost if water contamination continues," said in a statement. said a number of establishments drained their sewage directly into the sea. "There are certain areas there (where)... some establishments have illegally tapped their sewage line into the water line," Alegre told AFP. Of the 150 business establishments recently inspected by the government, only 25 were connected to the sewage line, he said. Many establishments were also building too close to the beach and were even crowding into the roads of the 1,000- hectare (2,470-acre) island, Alegre added. attracts more than two million tourists a year and brings in 56 billion pesos (USD 1.12 billion) in annual revenues, the department and industry sources said. warned the situation was a looming environmental "disaster" and a "tragedy" that could soon drive visitors away from the island, located about 190 kilometres (308 miles) south of He said he had ordered Secretary to clean up or else. "I'll give you six months. Clean the goddamn thing," he said he had told Cimatu.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 10 2018. 18:25 IST