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SMC: Massive Pasig River cleanup begins next month

Manila City View From Airplane
Aerial view of Manila with the Pasig River

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said it is gearing up for the massive cleanup of the Pasig River as part of its P95-billion Pasig River Expressway Project.

An elevated toll road along the banks of Pasig River, the Expressway Project will connect the east and west sides of Metro Manila, from R-10 road in Manila to Edsa and C-5.

With its completion, traffic in Rizal, Cainta, and Marikina is expected to improve.

It will likewise provide easier access to the central business districts of Makati, Ortigas, and Bonifacio Global City, and also connect to the Skyway system.

In a statement, SMC said preparations for the “historic effort” to clean up the Pasig River, to be fully funded by the company, will be jointly undertaken with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

In preparation for the activity, the first intensive study on the riverbed is currently underway, the company reported.

SMC is looking to remove 600,000 metric tons of waste per year from the Pasig River, with actual cleanup to start in May.

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said the company has already completed the initial bathymetric survey of the Pasig River, from the Pandacan, Manila area going upstream. Further studies of the Manila Bay to Pandacan area are also now underway, using new equipment the company acquired.

Bathymetry is the study of the ocean, lake, or river floors, to determine their topography and characteristics underwater. The studies are the first to be done for these sections of the Pasig River.

“This is a very important environmental effort, and we want to do it right. Cleaning up the Pasig River has been a dream for many Filipinos, even our older generations, so we want to make sure our plan is strategic and effective. While we will use science and utilize modern technology, this project can only succeed with the cooperation of all stakeholders,” Ang said.

“We are grateful for the support of [DENR] Secretary Roy Cimatu and Secretary Mark Villar. They will be the key to making this project a success. Their expertise and ability to mobilize support from many stakeholders are vital to this initiative.”

Ang said the company recently took delivery of a marine echo sounder, a hydrographic survey equipment that uses sonar to determine the depths of water, by sending acoustic waves into the water.

Apart from bathymetric survey, SMC said it is also looking to conduct a soil test from Manila Bay to Pandacan, every 400 meters. The company has also coordinated with the DPWH to request its consultants to conduct its own hydrographic study and dredging plan.

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