DENR allots P50M for Pasig River mangrove-planting program
In a bid to fast-track efforts to revive the biologically-dead Pasig River, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) have teamed up for a P50 million mangrove-planting project along its banks.
The deterioration of the river—one of Metro Manila’s most important waterways—started in the 1930s until it was declared biologically dead in 1990 due to pollution from industrial and domestic waste.
In a move geared toward facilitating the “resurrection” of Pasig River, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and PRRC chair Regina Paz Lopez signed on Monday a memorandum of agreement at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City for the planting of mangroves on the banks along its 19-kilometer-long stretch.
According to Paje, the Pasig River Greening Project is part of the government’s national greening program which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees, including mangroves in coastal areas and tributaries, on 1.5 million hectares of land around the country by 2016.
The project will also complement the DENR’s “Adopt-an-Estero project” which seeks partners from the private sector in cleaning up waterways, from major rivers to smaller tributaries such as rivers and creeks nationwide.
“Aside from the obvious benefits we get from mangroves as trees, this greening project is a step toward reviving the Pasig River by improving its water quality and making it viable for more life forms to survive in it. Providing clean water, after all, remains a top priority of the Aquino administration,” Paje said in a statement.
Under the MOA, the PRRC, the sole agency mandated to rehabilitate and manage Pasig River, would be responsible for planting mangroves on its banks from C-5 Road in Pasig City to the mouth of Manila Bay.
The DENR will provide P50 million to the PRRC for the implementation of the project, including the establishment of a mangrove seedling nursery site within the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecosystem.
The PRRC will also carry out all phases of the project from planning to repair or remedial work and regularly submit physical and financial reports to the DENR.