Boracay is among the beach destinations in Southeast Asia currently undergoing rehabilitation. The state intervention is due to increased pollution in certain Boracay beaches. Pollution in oceans is a serious environmental problem that everyone must be responsible for. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, there are various sources of beach pollution including wet weather discharges, vessel discharges, and trash. The trash may have come from other places and eventually washed up on shores or from beach-goers.
Be a responsible traveler. Remember that you're protecting the environment not only for your sake but for future generations of human and marine life. Here are some beach clean up tips you should know for your next Boracay visit.
No to plastic!
The UN has recently reported that about 4.8 to 12.7 million tons of plastic are dumped in oceans each year. Discarded plastic erode into micro-plastics, or tiny fragments, that cause the death of more than a million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals every year.
There's nothing to clean up if there are no trash anywhere. You can reduce plastic waste in Boracay by bringing an eco-bag. You can use it for your beach stuff and shopping items. If you're going to the market to buy fresh vegetables and seafood, you can bring a reusable grocery tote bag.
Bring a water tumbler with you
Do your part in keeping Puka Shell beach in Boracay pristine. Instead of buying, and accumulating plastic bottles, you can bring a reusable tumbler. It's important to stay hydrated under the summer sun, but do so without adding to plastic garbage on the island.
Most coffee shops use recyclable coffee cups, but if you're staying in the establishment, you might as well use a mug.
Take your trash with you
UK-based charity Surfers Against Sewage notes that “plastic pollution can now be found on every beach in the world, from busy tourist beaches to uninhabited, tropical islands.”
Before heading to your spot on the beach, make sure you bring a trash bag with you. The beach is not a trash bin. Bringing a bag will help prevent plastic, food scraps, and other litter to be buried under the sand. Take your trash and litter with you back to your hotel for proper disposal.
Dispose cigarette butts properly
The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) warns that roughly 4.5 to 6 trillion cigarettes consumed each year form part of ocean litter. “Many people, even smokers, are not aware that the cigarette filter is comprised of thousands of little particles of plastic” that can be released to into the marine environment, according to Nicolas Mallos, director at Trash Free Seas Program.
Boracay authorities prohibited smoking beyond the vegetation line to prevent cigarette litter in beaches. But since the government declared a nationwide smoking ban, you can only light up in designated areas. Observe these laws, or better yet, skip smoking during your vacation.
Stop chewing synthetic rubber
Singapore has banned chewing gums years ago for environmental reasons. Chewing gums are neither digestible nor biodegradable. These are made of plastic or synthetic rubber that , when eaten, pose risks to birds, turtles, and other marine animals.
If you're chewing gum to help you quit smoking, you can opt for candies or lozenges instead. Whether you're in the beach or anywhere else, make sure you dispose your trash properly.
Do away with plastic straws
Do you know that trash and litter in the ocean can become concentrated in certain areas? These gyres form with the movement of oceanic currents. Today, there are 5 gyres in the planet including the North Pacific Gyre that is twice the size of Texas.
Help with beach clean-up efforts by cutting down your plastic usage. Doing away with plastic straws is one simple yet helpful tip. Enjoy your beverage without this plastic nuisance.
End your styrofoam affair
Earlier this year, Hawaii introduced a statewide ban on polystyrene takeout containers, otherwise known as styrofoam. “Foam polystyrene has been found in water and wind, especially at shores, making up for a considerable amount of marine debris. This also affects animals in the wild, due to broken down bits of polystyrene obstructing their airways, contaminating their resources, and causing cancer and digestive problems,” according to researchers from Rutgers University.
When buying food to-go, you can ask for a reusable container instead of styrofoam. Most restaurants and diners already offer this option. It's better if you can bring your own container.
Save the oceans by packing your own cutlery
You should be aware that approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution end up in the ocean everyday. Today is the right time to start an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Packing your swimwear and gadgets for a Boracay getaway? You might as well include some cutlery in your baggage. You can help keep the white sand beach clean by reducing your plastic usage. Ditch plastic spoons and forks with reusable ones. Using your own cutlery can also ensure that you're safe from diseases that can be transmitted through dirty dining ware. You can buy cutlery that comes in a beautiful travel casing.
Get busy with worthwhile activities
The more you consume, the more plastic and other non-biodegradable products you use. Prepare an itinerary that just does not involve eating and drinking. You can do a lot of activities in Boracay such as island hopping, trekking, windsurfing, and spelunking. You should also stroll the plaza and learn about the daily lives of local folks.
“Plogging” in Boracay
“Plogging” or jogging and picking up litter is an eco-friendly fitness trend Filipinos got from the Swedish. The trend is very much alive in Baguio City. With the influx of tourists and garbage, more locals are doing their part in cleaning up the city by getting into “plogging.”
Plogging can be an effective and fun beach clean-up method. Put it in your Boracay itinerary and help keep the world-famous beach destination litter-free.
The degradation of the country's tourist destinations is an issue everyone must take seriously. Tourism may be driving the local economy, but the environmental costs undeniably outweigh the benefits. Whether you're a tourist or a local, you're obliged to observe laws and practice prudence towards the environment.