The Rehabilitation of Pasig River
The Pasig River is a 27-kilometer river which traverses the cities of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Taguig and the municipality of Taytay in the Province of Rizal. It serves as the only outlet that drains excess water from the landlocked Laguna de Bai to Manila Bay. It also drains four (4) major river tributaries - the San Juan, Marikina, Napindan and Taguig-Pateros Rivers and a vanishing network of 47 creeks and esteros. In the years before large-scale development of Metropolitan Manila, the Pasig River was compared to the Grand Canal of Venice as it “serpented” inland, framed on both banks by patches of lush greenery and its water clear and unimpeded by waste or debris. However, migration combined with high population growth resulted in an unparalleled explosion in the size of Metropolitan Manila. The failure of the metropolis’ pollution-control mechanisms to keep pace with this population expansion has seen Pasig River become a large dumping ground for garbage, sewerage and industrial pollution. The Pasig River is now one of the polluted river in the Philippines. In the 1990’s its water was characterized as dark, murky and foul; and its banks proliferated by industries discharging untreated wastewater and informal settlers living in stilts and makeshift houses using the river as their toilet and garbage dump. The Pasig River winds generally north-westward for some 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) from the Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, to Manila Bay, in the southern part of the island of Luzon. From the lake, the river runs between Taguig City, and Taytay, Rizal, before entering Pasig City. This portion of the Pasig River, to the confluence with the Marikina River tributary, is known as the Napindan River or Napindan Channel. From there, the river forms the common border between Makati City to the south and Pasig City, followed by Mandaluyong City to the north. The river then sharply turns northeast, where it has become the border between Mandaluyong and Manila before turning again westward, joining its other major tributary, the San Juan River, and then following a sinuous path through the center of Manila before emptying into the bay. The whole river and most portions of its tributaries lie entirely within Metro Manila, the metropolitan region of the capital. Isla de Convalescencia (14°35′26″N 120°59′20″E), the only island dividing the Pasig River, can be found in Manila and it is where the Hospicio de San Jose is located. One major river that drains Laguna de Bay is the Taguig River, which enters into Taguig before becoming the Pateros River; it is the border between the municipalities of Pateros and Makati City. Pateros River then enters the confluence where the Napindan Channel and Marikina River meet. The Marikina River is the larger of the two major tributaries of the Pasig River, and it flows southward from the mountains of Rizal and cuts through the Marikina Valley. The San Juan River drains the plateau on which Quezon City stands; its major tributary is Diliman Creek. Within the city of Manila, various esteros (canals) criss-cross through the city and connect with the Tullahan River in the north and the Paranaque River to the west The growth of Manila along the banks of the Pasig River has made it a focal point for development and historical events. The foremost landmark on the banks of the river is the walled district of Intramuros, located near the mouth of the river on its southern bank. It was built by the Spanish colonial government in the 16th century. Further upstream is the Hospicio de San Jose, an orphanage located on Pasig's sole island, the Isla de Convalescencia. On the northern bank stands Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines. Also on Pasig River's northern bank and within the Manila district of Sta. Mesa is the main campus of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. In Makati City, along the...
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