Pasig River Pollution
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Background : Philippines

Pasig River

The Pasig River is the main river in Metro Manila that connects Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay. It is approximately 27 km long with an average width of 91 meters and depth ranging from 0.5 to 5.5 meters. The stretch of the Pasig River has an average depth of 1.3 meters. The deepest portions (4.5 meters) are located between Guadalupe Bridge and C6 Bridge, while the shallowest portion is at the mouth of Manila Bay. The average water volume is 6.6 million m3. During low flow from March to May, the discharge volume is 12m3/sec, while from October to November the discharge volume reaches 275m3/sec. It is considered as a tidal estuary because of the interchange of water during low tide from Laguna de Bay and during high tide from Manila Bay. (Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, 2006)

The main Pasig River passes through five cities (Taguig, Pasig, Makati,Mandaluyong and Manila, and one municipality (Taytay). The river system has 4 major tributaries (Marikina, Pateros-Taguig, Napindan and San Juan) and 43 minor tributaries mostly located in Manila.
(Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission 2014)

Pasig River Monitoring

Pasig River Monitoring

Source: PRRC report ,2014.

Monitoring Stations for Pasig River

The Pasig River Unified Monitoring Stations (PRUMS) project was initiated on January 26, 2009 by the four agencies; Environmental Management Bureau, National Capital Region (EMB-NCR), Environmental Management Bureau, Central Office (EMB-CO), Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), in order to harmonize the water quality monitoring stations along the Pasig River and to provide a coherent water quality report for public information.

Fourteen stations are being monitored for water and sediment quality. (Fig. 1) Thirteen stations are classified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as Class C water, which is suitable for aquatic life, recreation and industrial water supply. The stations classified as Class C are C6 Bridge, Bambang Bridge, Vargas Bridge, Marikina Bridge, BuayangBato, Guadalupe Nuevo, Guadalupe Viejo, Guadalupe Ferry, Jones Bridge, Nagtahan Bridge, Havana Bridge, Lambingan Bridge, and Sevilla Bridge. Manila Bay is the only station classified under the SB criterion that is intended for coastal and marine waters fit for bathing, swimming, skin diving and spawning areas of fishes (DAO 34, 1990). Accordingly, Pasig River and Manila Bay should achieve their corresponding criteria.

Rehabilitation of the Pasig River System

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) was created in 1999 under the Executive Order No. 54. Its purpose is to rehabilitate the Pasig River to its previous pristine condition, for recreation, transportation, and tourism.

The PRRC had adopted various activities that include social preparation and relocation, riverbed deepening, easement recovery, solid waste management and point source pollution control, river warriors, bioremediation, academic institution and stakeholder partnership, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC)

Source: PRRC report 2014

Map of linear parks in Pasig River System

Out of the 47 tributaries of the Pasig River System, ten (10) had been rehabilitated under the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission programs, three (3) under the Department of Public Works and Highways programs, and one (1) under the non-government organization KapitBisig Para saIlog Pasig program (Pasig River Rehabilitation, 2014). The ten (10) rehabilitated tributaries include Estero de Paco, Estero de San Miguel, Estero de Concordia, Estero de San Sebastian, Estero de Aviles, Estero de Balete, Estero de Sampaloc, Estero de Valencia, Estero de Quiapo, and Estero de Uli-Uli.

To continuously rehabilitate the Pasig River System, the following are the plans and initiatives of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission:

  • Social Preparation and Relocation
  • Riverbed Deepening
  • Easement Recovery
  • Solid Waste Management and Point Source Pollution Control
  • River Warriors
  • Bioremediation
  • Academic Institution and Stakeholder Partnership
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

From 2000-2011, 44 EPA-linear/parks with a total length of 24, 871.5 linear meters were constructed along the main river. To date, the PRRC has been able to develop a total of 31.3kilometers of EPAs in the cities of Manila, Makati, Pasig and Taguig as well as in esteros and creeks in the cities of Manila and Quezon City.

From 2011 to mid-2014, there were 2,279 ISFs removed from 12 minor tributaries draining to Pasig River. This represents almost 46% of the total ISFs surveyed in those esteros/waterways.


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