About the Author

Iris Cecilia Gonzales
journalist (Quezon City, Philippines)

I work as a reporter for the Philippine Star, a Manila daily. At present, I cover the Department of Finance beat but I also write other stories here and there. I'm also a coffee and scotch drinker, a barefoot traveller and a collector of memories. I live in a parallel universe.

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Pasig River: A River of Garbage

Published 03rd February 2011 - 8 comments - 7053 views -

Take just one breath and you will surely inhale the strong stench of trash and the smell of the murky waters.

It doesn’t matter which direction the winds blow. When you are anywhere near the Pasig River, you cannot escape the fetid smell of a polluted water basin.

The Pasig River in the Philippines stretches 25 kilometers, cutting through historical sites and vibrant cities. It might as well be the Philippines’ version of Europe’s Danube River which was written about by fellow TH!NK 5 blogger Larisa Rankovic or the Czech Republic’s Vltava River which was blogged about by another fellow TH!NK 5 blogger Radka Lankasova.

During the Spanish era, the river used to be an important route for trade but decades of neglect killed this river.


It has long been declared dead or unable to sustain life but since 1999 the government with the help of foundations and private organizations created the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.

The urgency to help in rehabilitating the river cannot be overemphasized and many are realizing this.

Various campaigns have been launched. There’s the Piso Para sa Pasig (One Peso for Pasig River) campaign and there have been fun runs, too. Such initiatives are all geared towards raising money for the rehabilitation of the river.

It’s all for a good cause but hopefully people will not stop at just joining the bandwagon.

What is needed, as fellow TH!NK 5 blogger Pabitra Mukhopadhyay mentioned in a comment in one of my blog posts, that a radical way of solving problems surrounding water is needed.

I believe that the government should put in more funds for a serious, long-lasting and sustainable rehabilitation of the 25-kilometer river. Once it is fully rehabilitated, the Pasig River can contribute significantly to the economy. It can serve as an alternative transport route for the trade of goods and services, which would significantly impact on the economy.

Making this as an alternative route would also tremendously decongest traffic in Metro Manila, heavy traffic being a major problem in the metropolis.

More importantly, it would be good for the environment especially the river’s life forms and the earth that we live in.


As I write this, the route to making the river fully rehabilitated is still a long way to go but I dream of seeing this achieved someday.




(Source of featured image about is this site and the image on the lower portion is this site.) 

Category: Pollution | Tags:


  • Larisa Rankovic on 03rd February 2011:

    I hope too that revitalization projects will bring some improvement. Looked into some photos of the Pasig River, looks picturesque. Would be a pity if the present condition continues

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 05th February 2011:


    Thank you. Yes, I’ve seen old photos, it’s really beautiful in the past.


    It’s a long process. Political will is needed. Thank you for your comment.

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 05th February 2011:


    and @Pasigriveravenger,

    Thank you for your comments. And you are right, the facilities of major polluters still operate There is a need for political will indeed.

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