A scene that’s hard to believe: A garbage-free Binondo creek

October 10, 2018 - 12:44 PM
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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources declared that Esterdo de Binondo is now free from garbage after consistent efforts of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. (Facebook/Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission - PRRC)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced that Estero de Binondo is now free from wastes and garbage following the consistent rehabilitation efforts of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission River Warriors.

Pictures of the creek were originally shared on PRRC’s Facebook page, where executive director Jose Antonio Goitia called for the support of the community and the local government unit to now maintain its the garbage-free state.

In February, a picture of it overflowing with garbage went viral on social media courtesy of freelance photographer Sidney Snoeck. The polluted state of the creek outraged the public.

It eventually reached Goitia and prompted him to launch an “emergency operation” in the creek. However, he noted that it was not the first time a clean-up drive has been launched in Estero de Binondo.

Apparently, the PRRC has been cleaning up the creek since 2016, based on their previous social media posts.

Not the first time 

Earlier this year, PRRC River Patrol team leader Bonifacio Aragona Jr. shared that two days have been allotted to clean the waterway. He didn’t mention if it was before or after Snoeck’s picture of the polluted creek went viral.

Aragona said that PRRC were surprised when they once again found heaps of trash in the creek. They placed a garbage trap in the form of a net during their clean-up drive to keep it from being polluted.

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission conducting a clean-up drive in Estero de Binondo on June 2018. (Facebook/Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission)

He figured that someone might have lifted the garbage trap, hence the accumulation of the trash in the area.

The creek has since been cleaned up by PRRC several times. Last April, the Metro Manila Development Authority joined the rehabilitation efforts and used heavy equipment such as cranes to lift the garbage. They also placed traps on some parts of the creek to collect the waste.

River Warriors 

PRCC was created in January 1999 by virtue of Executive Order 54 signed by then-President Joseph Estrada. It is mandated to “ensure that the waterway is rehabilitated to its historically pristine condition conducive to transport, recreation and tourism.”

The agency is composed of different representatives from various government, non-government and private agencies with the duty to address sectoral concerns of rehabilitating Pasig River and waterways connected to it.

PRCC is responsible for forming a team of volunteers specifically obligated to safeguard Pasig River and its tributaries from pollution—the “River Warriors.”

The River Warriors are supposed to join community mobilization and clean-up drives launched by PRCC concerning affected waterways. All of them have been trained by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.