June 11, 2021 By C! Magazine Staff

SMC starts Pasig River rehab, doubles budget to P2 billion

San Miguel Corporation (SMC), in partnership with multiple government agencies, officially launched its five-year plan to clean up and rehabilitate the Pasig River.

The project is set to become the largest river rehabilitation project in the country, with SMC president Ramon S. Ang announcing that the company’s budget doubled to P2 billion.

“There have been many cleanup efforts in the past, and government has successfully implemented a number of programs these past few years,” Ang said. “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.”

“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.

To further underscore the problem of pollution in the Pasig River, Ang cited a study published by OurWorldinData.org last May, that Pasig River has emerged as the top plastics polluter of oceans in the world.

Joining the Pasig River in the top ten list of rivers in the world that have the highest share of plastics emitted are six other rivers in the Philippines: the Tullahan River (no. 4), Meycauayan River (no.5), Pampanga River (no.6) Libmanan river (no.7), Rio Grande de Mindanao (no.9) and Agno river (no.10).

“Solid waste in our rivers is a serious issue, not only because it endangers our oceans, marine life, and traditional fishing grounds–which are a source of food and livelihood for our countrymen–but also because they worsen our flooding situation,” Ang said.

“Silt and accumulated garbage have made the Pasig river shallow and restrict the flow of water, worsening the flooding situation in Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasig. Our goal is to remove years-worth of wastes and increase Pasig River’s carrying capacity to divert floodwaters to Manila Bay and make it more conducive to marine life over the coming years,” he added.

SMC is targeting to remove around 50,000 metric tons of waste from the Pasig River per month, or 600,000 metric tons a year. The company has also acquired advanced and specialized equipment for the rehabilitation.

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