Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pasig River: It's Not Your Backyard

Many years ago I attended a seminar. One of the speakers was Architect Felino Palafox Jr. He talked about reviving Pasig River.
He pointed out that the river became the way it is because people treated it as if it were part of their backyard. To illustrate his point he said that the factories along the Pasig River were all facing away from the river. He added that what faced the river were the "backyards" of those factories complete with those pipes where all sorts of waste material routinely come out. Of course we all know where those garbage go.

Palafox said by simply changing the orientation of the factories and other structures along the river significant improvements can be achieved. To stress the point, he asked "Would you let garbage pile up in front of your house?"

Last year I took a short vacation with some relatives in Bangkok, Thailand. One of the highlights of that trip of ours was a dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya River. As we were cruising along, I noticed that all of the buildings on the bank had their main entrances facing the river. These include hotels and various historical sites.

here are some videos from youtube.

Here's a "day" version:

This is not to say that there's no pollution at Chao Phraya. I really don't know. What's clear to me is that it is a lot cleaner than Pasig River.

So, what do you think? Would treating Pasig River as the frontyard do wonders for the dead river?


  1. That is a great idea!
    Like the Golden Rule- treat other frontyards like you would treat your own frontyard, parang ganun.
    Pero Ilog Pasig is ebakan and tambakan yata ng nakapalibot na squatters, residents and buildings.

  2. i think it sarted with the fact that factories along the river were dumping their waste into the river. this was then followed by workers of those same factories setting up their homes near these factories. these informal settlers then emulated how the factories were treating the river.

    of course, i'm just speculating. but clearly how the factories treated the river played a big role in how it turned out.

  3. Actually, a USAID organization that does water sanitation projects said that most of the pollution comes from households along the river banks.

    And I am not just talking about squatters along the Pasig River, but every household in Manila whose septic tanks have overflow canals that empty out onto storm drains which lead to esteros and then the pasig river.

    Another source of pollution is solid waste -- tons and tons of plastic sachet wrappers of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, empty instant soup packets, instant noodle packets, grocery bags... They all end up in esteros that feed into the pasig river.


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