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Pasig River Is Top Ocean Pollutant, World Study Suggests

It contributes over 63,000 tons of plastics to the ocean every year.

At least 19 rivers in the Philippines were identified in the top 50 waterways that emit plastic. These are ranked based on the annual amount of plastic waste flowing into the ocean.

A recent study published in the journal Science Advances in April showed that more than 1,000 rivers across continents account for nearly 80% of global riverine plastic emissions. It further says that small and medium-sized rivers play a significant role in the influx of plastic wastes into the ocean, instead of a few large rivers identified in an earlier study. 

The study cited the Pasig River as the top pollutant in a list of over 1,600 rivers across the world. (Read: A Prayer for Environmental Protection)

pasig-river-is-top-ocean-pollutant-world-study-suggests
Photo courtesy of SMC media affairs

From Pasig River to Manila Bay

Rivers in the Philippines contribute 356,000 metric tons of plastic wastes to the ocean annually.

The Pasig River, which snakes across the densely populated Metro Manila, contributes over 63,000 tons of plastics to the ocean every year. The wastes are funneled through Manila Bay. (Read: New Batch of Crushed Dolomite Poured on the P389 M Manila Bay Beach)

Clean-up Activities

With this information, the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in launching a five-year plan to clean up and rehabilitate the Pasig River.

Set to become the largest-ever river rehab project in the country, SMC is targeting to remove some 50,000 metric tons of waste from the Pasig river per month, or 600,000 metric tons of waste per year. (Read: Faith Group Urges Nature-Based Solutions as Pandemic Response)

pasig-river-is-top-ocean-pollutant-world-study-suggests
Photo courtesy of SMC media affairs

The project is actually SMC’s second major river rehabilitation initiative. Its ongoing P1-billion cleanup of the 27-kilometer Tullahan-Tinajeros River, launched last year, supports the rehabilitation of Manila Bay. (Read: San Miguel Donates 36 Boats to Fisherfolk in Sariaya, Quezon)

“There have been many cleanup efforts in the past, and [the] government has successfully implemented a number of programs these past few years. But decades of pollution and compounding problems that have rendered the river biologically dead since the 1990s are too significant and complex to overcome–even for the best-intentioned advocates and organizations,” SMC President Ramon S. Ang said. 

“We hope that with the resources and technical know-how that we are bringing into the effort today–along with the continued support of our national government agencies and local government units–we can all make a bigger difference,” he added.

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