July 12, 2009

This should have been scenic

Standing on the outer walls of Fort Santiago beside the Pasig River, one can look east and see Binondo (Manila's Chinatown) across the river and the Manila Central Post Office building just beyond Jones Bridge. The 25-kilometer Pasig River connects Laguna de Bay (the largest lake in the Philippines) and Manila Bay. During the Spanish colonial era, it was a very important transport route, but because of uncontrolled population growth and industrialization after WWII, the river was neglected. Factories and scores of informal settlers on its banks dumped—and continue to dump—their waste in it, using it as their personal sewage system. Since the 1990s, the Pasig River has been considered ecologically dead. Needless to say, its pollution also affects Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay. There have been several attempts to gather support for the river's rehabilitation through the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, but they have been intermittent and never gained much ground. With 50,000 to 100,000 potential voters settled (illegally) on its banks, and national elections coming up next year, I don't think that any attempt to rehabilitate the river will succeed any time soon.

Pasig River with a view of Binondo, Jones Bridge and the Manila Central Post Office

13 comments:

James said...

What a shame Hilda. My eyes aren't the greatest so it still looks scenic to me, clouds buildings, water and imagination.

Meri said...

What a tragedy! It's another example of how we misuse our Mother.

Lois said...

What a terrible waste for both the people and wildlife in that area!

Vogon Poet said...

I agree with James: still scenic is, but could be surely better. Who said that if you won't do something you have to create a commission?

Don and Krise said...

Is it a matter of money, or has it been a way of life so long the people won't change? What a pity.

Jacob said...

That's so sad. It's a pretty picture until one realizes what's in the water!

Reclamation can work, but it needs the commitment of the powers-that-be...

Snapshutter said...

Bloody Shame. The good news is that once the dumping into the river stops, whenever that may be, it will rehabilitate itself.

Frank said...

What a very dsad situation. It's an environmental mess and there doesn't appear to be a solution. Why can't the government legislate a cleanup?
I know this isn't just a problem there but in many other cities and countries. Heartbreaking.

Chuckeroon said...

Tks for dropping in on RuT again Hilda. It's good to get your insights on the real life of Manila. Given the will the river can be rehabilitated. Keep hoping.

the donG said...

it might take a long time but what's good is more and more people get to support this move. maybe years...

behcet said...

goog shot

George said...

It's too bad that the river has been abused for so long. In Cleveland, Ohio, the Cuyahoga River was so badly abused that it once caught fire! But that inspired a change in attitude and it is now quite scenic and clean along most of its length.

asok said...

It's very bad people don't understand the value of river & misuses it,Steps should be taken by the Govt

peter

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