San Miguel President Ramon Ang said he was bringing in dredging equipment to clean up the Pasig River together with government agencies as early as April.
Ang said the project aims remove 50,000 tons of waste every month from the Pasig, long a symbol of urban pollution in the Philippines. In five years, 600,000 tons of silt and solid waste would have been fished out.
"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," Ang said.
Ang, who is a big investor in the government's "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program, recently opened Skyway Stage 3, which cut travel time between Metro Manila's northern and southern tips to under 30 minutes from several hours.
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After a thorough assessment, it was revealed that portions of the river had a depth of as little as one meter. According to Ang, depth should be at least 10 meters to allow for flood water to flow out to Manila Bay.
"These are the most critical portions of the river that cause widespread flooding," Ang said.
Prior to starting the Pasig River project, SMC began a river clean-up for the 27-kilometer Tullahan-Tinajeros River System. The five-year, P1 billion corporate social responsibility initiative aims to help 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, and 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.