Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig Continues to Join Pasig River Rehabilitation Activities
Recently, Bantay Kalikasan’s Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig joined different activities that aim to help in the rehabilitation of the Pasig River. These were the Lakbayan Water Trails, Estero dela Reina Clean-up, and the Pasig River Tour.
Headed by Manila Water, the Lakbayan Water Trails aimed to provide actual experience and to appreciate the importance of preserving a watershed, to gather insights and recommendations that will help and promote the Pasig River system and, to raise awareness and educate the people of the ecological functions of water bodies and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value. Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig team, together with Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, visited the Angat Dam, Ipo Dam, and La Mesa Dam.
On the other hand, to celebrate this year’s World Water Day, an inter-agency clean-up drive headed by Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission was carried out at Estero dela Reina as a kick-off celebration.
According to Melvic Cabasag, the Project Lead/Site Specialist of KBPIP, they work with partners to rehabilitate the Pasig River by cleaning one estero at a time.
“Aside from doing our own estero clean-up activities, KBPIP also supports clean-up activities of our partners like the one in Estero dela Reina since we have the same advocacy,” Cabasag explains. “In our clean-up activities, we have local inter-agency committees where we partner with PRRC, City of Manila, and other partner agencies like DSWD, DILG, MMDA, City Engineering Office. We also aim to show to the nearby estero community that they should also take care of their surroundings. They live on it; they should be responsible to clean it as well. Community’s participation plays a big role in rehabilitating our water tributaries.”
The Pasig River Tour showed the participants the current situation of the Pasig River after different rehabilitation efforts. The tour started at the mouth of Manila Bay until Guadalupe Ferry Station.
In 1990, the river which used to be an important part of life of Manila for transport and source of water, was declared biologically dead due to industrial development.
Though there are still informal settlers along the river bank and trash floating along, Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig, together with its partners, is optimistic the Pasig River will come back to life again.
“If you clean the Pasig River right away, it will still remain filthy because the water is coming from the esteros. The esteros are like its veins, where the garbage is coming from,” Cabasag explained. “Our pilot project was Estero de Paco back in 2010. It was one of the major contributors of pollution of Pasig River. The technique is you start with the esteros down to the main river. Our goal is to have Class C water quality.”
Aside from clean-up activities, KBPIP also conducts eco-waste management seminars to the communities and environmental themed storytelling to children.