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Scientist group to SMC: Stop tagging Pasig River as “long biologically dead” to justify yet another environmentally destructive money-making scheme

It is high time to emphasize that calling a certain body of water “dead” does not warrant big corporations’ interest to build more infrastructure to satisfy their bottomless profit thirst. The Pasig River Expressway is a 19.37-km long death sentence that will kill the hopes for a better Pasig River ecosystem. AGHAM stands that PAREX will cause further damages to Pasig River, nearby urban dwellers, and over-all urban ecosystem of Metro Manila.

PAREX will affect the river’s productivity. Complete or partial blocking of the natural sunlight will affect the remaining food chain of Pasig River. From the tiniest plankton to the remaining fish species and riparian vegetation, all organisms will be affected by the drastic alteration of the river’s illumination.

Ramon Ang blatantly saying that the Pasig River is biologically dead is a downright display of aggression against several people-led movements and institutions that are doing efforts in rehabilitating the Pasig River. Ecological landscapes change. Restoring a river does not mean building an expressway over it. SMC might have to look further that restoring a very crucial river requires a multidisciplinary approach, from ecological restoration technologies, stakeholder engagement and information campaigns, to solid waste management plans and legislative measures, among others. And it does not happen overnight.

Ramon Ang blatantly saying that the Pasig River is biologically dead is an admission that the corporate chief sees the environment as mere collateral damage for their profit-driven agenda. We already heard this logic before. How authorities claim that Manila Bay is dead, and, thus, needs “clean-up” intervention but proceeds with massive chunks of reclamation is nothing new, especially that San Miguel Corporation is also a proponent of the Bulacan Aerotropolis project that is destroying huge portions of Manila Bay’s mangroves. SMC might have an addiction on destroying our waters and waterways for their own good.

Metropolitan Manila is in need of public green spaces. It is known that green spaces such as parks are known to bring better wellness to urban dwellers. Pasig River, stitching the middle of the NCR is a very good place to invest for the urban population’s green spots. However, the length of the river will be full of supporting structures, ramps, tollgates and connecting roads once PAREX commence its construction. The river vicinity that could be a very good urban heat sink can be a further source of our cities’ heat.

AGHAM stands firm that no project can justify further destruction of our remaining natural habitats. Especially in this climate crisis, wherein Manila residents are highly vulnerable, government agencies should act up on their mandate to protect the environment and not connive with big businesses whose ultimate goal is to squeeze out money from Filipinos.

Photo: Pasig River Expressway Project

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