The rehabilitation of the Manila’s Pasig River has been recognised with an international environmental award.
The urban waterway beat China’s Yangtze River in the first Asia RiverPrize Awards.
Officials from the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), led by its Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia, received the recognition during the International ‘Riversymposium’ held in Sydney, Australia, today (Wednesday, October 17).
The International River Foundation recognised the revival of the Pasig, which was declared biologically dead in the 1990s due to chronic pollution. The river’s deterioration was caused by rapid population growth and industrial development along its banks.
Pasig River resurrected
The award giving foundation said: “The PRRC and its partners’ river restoration and management efforts have effectively brought the Pasig River back to life. These efforts have included delivering quality projects, programmes, activities, and advocacies in easement recovery, riverbank development, waste and water quality management, and public awareness.”
It also praised the PRRC for resettling 18,719 families living along the riverbanks to decent homes, dismantling 376 encroaching private structures and the establishment of 37,471.68 metres of environmental preservation areas.
The PRRC also developed 17 of its 47 identified tributaries, diverted almost 22 million kilograms of solid waste and transformed communities into “environmentally responsible citizens”.
“This has resulted in significant water quality improvement, as well as the revitalisation and development of the Pasig River system,” the foundation said.
The rehabilitation of the Pasig River began in January 1999 with the creation of the PRRC, “to ensure that the Pasig River System is rehabilitated to its historically pristine condition conducive for the propagation of fishes and other aquatic resources, transport, recreation and tourism”.
The Pasig, which bisects Metro Manila into northern and southern halves, connects Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay.
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