Environment and Natural Resources Chief Roy A. Cimatu on Monday said they will recover Boracay’s missing wetlands as they seek to restore the world famous island’s ecosystem.

Four of the nine existing wetlands of Boracay Island make up DENR’s priority recovery list because they are contributing pollution to the beach waters.

Residential structures and commercial buildings sit on these four wetlands. The wastes generated from these structures figure in the wetlands, and in turn, are transferred to the main beach when high tide occurs.

“We have to find a place for them to be relocated. We will recover the wetlands because this is like the kidneys of the island. But before we ask them to leave the wetlands, of course we have to find a relocation site for them. This is one of the things that we are going to do after the six-month closure,” the DENR chief pointed out.

Wetlands serve as natural water storage and water filter and provides habitat for aquatic plants, fish and wildlife.

One of the remaining wetlands sits inside a titled property while another has been turned into a lagoon. Another one is located in a forest while two others, within residential communities.

Also, Cimatu said DENR is currently focused on improving the sewerage systems in the island among other concerns and recovering the wetlands and transferring the illegal settlers will take time. He said his office is now searching for a good relocation site for the residents who will be uprooted from their houses that are situated in either one of the nine wetlands of Boracay Island.

Boracay’s closure has paved the way for the ‘healing’ of the island from the excesses of unbridled tourism ranging from its erratic sewerage systems to the illegal settlers in its wetlands, considered the ‘kidneys’ of the island. Aside from serving as natural water storage areas, wetlands also function as flood conveyance and provide a habitat to fish and wildlife.###