There are about 30 creeks and rivers flowing to Pasig River, Manila’s main river flowing to the sea. Because of weak agriculture policy and lack of farm support, Rural farms have become uncompetitive and backward, resulting in large number of people migrating to Manila to look for jobs. Lacking low cost housing, many of them built shacks and small houses along river banks and creeks illegally and simply threw their garbage and wastes into the river. Coupled with undeveloped sewer system in the city, these rivers became clogged and severely polluted. Due to the severe flooding in the city during rainy season, the government started clearing and rehabilitating these rivers.
About 745 families were relocated from the river and the garbage were dredged out of the river and brought to land fill areas. The sludge however were not acceptable for the land fills and too expensive to throw outside the city. They were therefore piled up along the river banks and covered by coco fiber logs and nets to avoid erosion and planted with amphibious grasses and plants. Sidewalks along the river were made for easier access of residents to transport stops along the river.
The water quality improved from BOD 65 to BOD average of 35. Assessment after two years showed that the residents along the river are less sickly. Property values increased, there were less crimes, less economic losses due to floods, and people felt safer, relaxed and happier. The rehabilitation of the 2.3 km river did cost 32,000,000 Philippines pesos or US$ 600,000. A socio economic benefit estimate has shown that the benefits derived by the city government and the surrounding residents over 15 years were valued at least 10 times the total cost of rehabilitation.
Understanding the challenges of rehabilitating a heavy populated and polluted river in an Asian Urban setting
Learning the use of plants and coconut fiber products in improving water quality
Understanding the benefits of river rehabilitation