This Stunning Island in Cebu Tries to Be Waste-Free
It's also limiting tourist visits.
(SPOT.ph) Sumilon Island, a 24-hectare coral island off the coast of Oslob in southern Cebu, is known for its white-sand beaches, a sandbar that changes shape depending on the tide and season, and a natural lagoon filled with mangroves. It's also one of the country's marine protected areas, making it a haven for divers and anyone who appreciates the deep seas. In an effort to keep the beauty of the island, the Municipal Government of Oslob temporarily closed the destination from April 10 to 16 for "cleanup and rehabilitation."
Just on the first day, hundreds of volunteers—including environmentalists from Save Philippine Seas and Greenpeace Philippines, divers, fishermen, and residents—collected more than 2,000 kilos of trash. Waste materials included bottles, candy wrappers, shampoo sachets, and other kinds of plastic all picked up from the seven-hectare area affected by the closure. (They even found a coffee bottle 20 meters below the sea!) Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort and the remaining 17 hectares remained operational for the whole week.
To further prevent the accumulation of solid waste on the island, Oslob tourism officer Elizabeth Benologa announced in a press conference on April 16 that visits within the sandbar area will be limited to only 500 tourists per day, with each batch just given two to three hours to stay on the white-sand beach starting April 17. This part of the island—which is not under the private resort—will also be closed every third Wednesday of the month for beach cleanups. The Bancogon Oslob Fishermen’s Association committed to manning the sandbar from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily to ensure its cleanliness.
Perhaps if we just avoid throwing our stuff everywhere (like a normal person), we wouldn't even have to close these beautiful destinations.