The Philippines is ‘closing down’ its paradise island

Raw sewage is plaguing Boracay, but 17,000 people rely on tourism

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has decided to close down the country's famous holiday island Boracay for six months because, in his words, it's "Smelly. Smell of what? Sh*t." Harsh.

What it means: Boracay has 17,000 residents who live mainly off the profits from 2 million tourists landing on their shores every year. But a lack of government regulation means that pipes full of raw sewage flow through Boracay's businesses and into the no-longer-so-sparkling sea.

People had been asking the government for help fixing the problem, but instead they've decided to just shut it down – which kind of solves the problem, but also puts those 17,000 people's livelihoods at risk.

The government is providing 'calamity funds' to locals – basically a bit of money to tide them over while the clean-up is ongoing. But people are still incredibly nervous about losing their jobs, especially given there isn't a clear plan from the government about who's actually going to sort this sh*t out (literally) and how long it's going to take.

The thing is, the island only contributes 0.1 per cent to the country's   , i.e. the total value of all the goods and services it provides. So although for people on the island (and tourists wanting to travel there), this shutdown causes a whole lot of uncertainty, for Duterte it's a stain on their environmental record they'd rather not deal with for a little while.

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