San Miguel Corporation is gearing up to clean and widen Pasig River with the arrival of two new dredging equipment capable of pulling 600,000 tons of silt and solid waste out of its waters per year for the next five years.
“Through the years, Pasig River has become narrower and shallower because of accumulated silt and waste. By cleaning and widening it, we will be able to increase its capacity to keep water flowing within its banks especially during heavy rains,” SMC president Ramon Ang said.
SMC, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and other concerned government units, is targeting to extract 50,000 tons of waste per month from the river.
“After a thorough assessment of Pasig River, we identified sections where the depth of water has been reduced to as little as one meter. These are the most critical portions of the river that cause widespread flooding,”Ang said.
For the river to effectively serve its purpose of channeling flood waters out to the Manila Bay, its depth should at least be 10 meters, he said.
“But garbage and silt over the many decades have reduced this to just one meter in these areas, clogging the river and causing water to overflow everywhere,” Ang added.
At present, SMC is already undertaking a major river cleanup – its five-year, P1 billion corporate social responsibility initiative to dredge the 27-kilometer Tullahan-Tinajeros River System which benefits other flood-prone areas such as Malabon and Navotas.
“We have had considerable experience in cleaning up rivers, primarily because of Tullahan, and also our successful initiatives to clean up rivers below Skyway 3. We are even putting in more resources and buying more equipment for the Tullahan initiative. We are also looking to do this for rivers in Bulacan. Naturally, cleaning up the Pasig River is a big goal that we do not take lightly,” Ang said.
“There have been many noteworthy efforts that have been initiated in the past, in order to rehabilitate the Pasig river. Unfortunately, it has always been a very costly undertaking. Now that San Miguel has a chance to help, we will give it our all,” he added.