BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan -- Some 33 pipes suspected to be discharging wastewater into the beach here have been discovered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The 33 pipes have been found through the agency’s use of ground penetrating radar (GPR), Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said in an interview, following the first meeting of the interagency task force on Boracay’s rehabilitation here Friday.

Three of those found were confirmed to be illegal and already dug up.

The illegal pipes are causing the erratic water quality in White Beach, Cimatu, who heads the interagency task force, said.

He warned that “full maximum penalty will be imposed” against the erring establishments behind these illegal pipes.

He said the investigation is still ongoing to identify the owners of the pipes.

Liza Socorro Manzano, the supervising science research specialist of the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said the 33 pipes were all found along White Beach.

Manzano said they will continue to locate and check the presence of buried pipes using the GPR.

Meanwhile, Cimatu said identifying and removing all these pipes would hasten the island’s cleanup.

The environment chief said that as long as the water quality of Boracay remains “dirty”, he will not recommend its reopening.

He, however, noted that the interagency is on track in its rehabilitation of the island.

The interagency task force’s meeting, presided by Cimatu, was also attended by other members, including Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and top officials of various national agencies. (PNA)