Oct 11, 2018

Eight months ago, the Estero de Binondo looked hopeless. This river located at the corner of Muelle de Binondo and Juan Luna Street in Manila is almost close to overflowing with the large amount of garbage piling up in its waters. In a photo of the waterway posted by Facebook user Sidney Snoeck last February, the river didn’t even look like it has water. It looked like a straight, solid ground as no space was left for water to be seen on its surface.

But hope in the river is restored when Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) declared the river garbage-free after months-long restoration. Last Monday, PRRC posted three photos of the now clean river with greenery growing on its banks. A clear reflection of the sky and buildings surrounding it are also seen on the river’s surface.

In a previous interview with Radyo Inquirer, PRRC executive director Jose Antonio Goitia said the rehabilitation had been ongoing since May 26, 2017. They installed a garbage trap on the end of the Binondo creek to prevent the flowing of garbage from other waterways. However, someone might have lifted this garbage trap, which allowed the trash to pile up in the Binondo waters.

They said they have since become stricter in monitoring and conducting regular clean-ups on Estero de Binondo.

Although the improvement of water quality is still a work in progress, it’s a good thing that the issue was acted upon immediately. If not, this river would not only be an addition to the growing number of polluted waters in the Philippines. It would also have a high risk of being among our country’s “biologically dead” waters.

Back in 2007, then secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Angelo Reyes said 50 of our country’s 421 rivers are considered “biologically dead.” According to this report by Greenpeace Philippines, biologically dead rivers are those that do not longer contain any oxygen and “cannot support any but the hardiest kinds of species.” This, along with the report that only 36 percent of the country’s river systems are possible sources of water supply, is appalling for a country that has rich marine biodiversity.

After last year’s declaration of the Pasig River as the second worst plastic waste contributor in the world, the transformation of a once river of trash to a now spotless stream speaks volumes. Of course, the rehabilitation doesn’t stop there. We still have a long way to go. But we hope that this would encourage more people to volunteer in saving our environment from dying behind large piles of trash.


Header image courtesy of PRRC

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TAGS: Clean up Creek Pasig rehabilitation River