Short pain, longer gain
favorite tourist destinations in other countries were shut down by their government due to polluted waters, overcrowding, or untreated waste disposal. In 2011, Ecuadorian officials Tachai’s closure, three more islands enacted new regulations limiting — Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui, and the number of visitors, their length Koh Khai Nai, which are accessible of stay and frequency of landing from Phuket — were also shuttered to the historic Galapagos Islands. for the same reason. Thai officials Officials opened up previously closed reasoned that the temporary closure destinations in the small archipelago would allow the islands’ ecosystems as a way to redistribute visitors, to replenish and would help prevent reduce fuel consumption and limit any permanent damage from over- the over pollution caused by tourism. tourism. While the islands house roughly The same was done recently to 30,000 locals, some 200,000 tourists Koh Phi Phi Island’s Maya Bay, which visit each year. was popularized by the 2000 movie
In May 2016, Thai officials “The Beach” starring Leonardo Di ordered the indefinite closure of Caprio. The scenic beach will be Thailand’s “most beautiful” Koh closed from the beginning of June Tachai Island, a popular diving site to the end of September this year to in the Similan National Park on the allow officials to clean up the heaps Andaman Sea. The move was to of garbage left by the 4,000 tourists protect the island’s beaches and who visit the site each day. coral reefs from any further damage Between January and February wrought by tourists, whose huge this year, Colombia closed off its numbers were too much for the local Tayrona National Park, located ecosystem to handle. Thai experts in Santa Marta on the country’s measured that a beach in the island northern coast. Colombian officials should only hold up to 70 visitors on explained in a statement that their average. But before the closure, more move was “to give a rest to the than 1,000 visitors would be at the ecosystem of the protected area.” island at any given time. Apparently, this move has already
Less than two weeks after Koh been done by Colombian officials STOK several times before.
Boracay belongs to the top 10 beach resorts in the world. It’s a natural treasure. It should be declared a protected natural area under the NIPAS (National Integrated Protected Areas System) Law.
G o v e r n ment a n d l o c a l officials, landowners and renters, environmentalists and academics should all sit down in a roundtable and seek the best solution. Saving a natural treasure is worth the brainstorming and time needed to restore it.
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