The rapid population growth brought about by industrialization and urbanization of Metro Manila has resulted in poor sanitation and pollution of the Pasig River. Trash, solid waste and oil slicks have contributed to its unpleasant odor and dark colored water. The river is also known to have high loads of untreated wastewater and is contaminated with various chemicals. The presence of these materials has degraded the water quality of the river, consequently upsetting its ecological balance. Compounding the problem is a general lack of awareness about sanitation and hygiene, and inadequate infrastructure.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippine Sanitation Alliance (PSA) and Rotary International Districts 3810 and 3780 worked to address these issues through the USAID-Rotary Pasig River Improvement Project. The project aimed to improve the state of the Pasig River by undertaking wastewater treatment, solid waste management, hygiene promotion and related activities in Sta. Ana, Manila and in Damayan and Del Monte, Quezon City. The outputs provided models for others along the Pasig River system to follow to achieve wide-scale sanitation improvements. The activities included:
Wastewater treatment. The project funded the construction of a wastewater treatment system for the Sta. Ana Public Market. Like most markets in the Philippines, it only had a septic tank providing primary treatment. Secondary treatment was needed to meet government discharge standards. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), City of Manila, PSA and Rotary develop a low-cost, low-maintenance wastewater treatment system to treat the market sewage to a level that meets the discharge standards of the government. The project also built community support for Maynilad Water’s wastewater treatment plants in Quezon City.
Improving solid waste management. The project engaged the Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines (SWAPP) to conduct surveys and develop a solid waste management plan for six barangays in Sta. Ana. All six barangays passed ordinaces mandating proper segregation and a "no segregation, no collection" policy. The amount of waste going to the landfill was reduced by about 1,835 kg per day compared to the baseline figure. About 30% to 80% of the residents and establishments were segregating their wastes at the end of the project.
Mother Earth Foundation was engaged to develop and implement solid waste management plans for Damayan and Del Monte, Quezon City. They helped develop solid waste management ordinances and 10 year plans for the two partner barangays. This resulted in 100% segregation of waste in the two barangays. There was a reduction of at least 40% of food waste, and an additional 38% of recyclable waste through house to house collection of segregated waste by the 12 workers that were hired. Cong. Reynaldo Calalay Memorial Elementary Schoold developed an innovative program called "Basura Mo, School Supplies Ko," which encourages students to segregate. The school was able to collect P3,000 to P6,000 worth of recyclable wastes per week and used the funds to purchase school supplies.
Community sanitation. The project promoted handwashing with soap in Sta. Ana Elementary School in Manila and Cong. Reynaldo Calalay Memorial Elementary School in Quezon City. In Sta. Ana, the project assisted Barangay 876 in developing a Soap Ordinance that requires all public and commercial establishments to have handwashing stations with water and soap – which was a first in the Philippines. The project also worked with Plan International on Community-Led Total Sanitation to improve Sta. Ana’s tourism potential and improve the health of the residents by reducing open defecation and urination. The project also repaired toilets and sinks in Sta. Ana Elementary School and the public market.
- Rotary International District 3780
- City of Manila
- Quezon City
- Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
- AECOM International Development (USAID Grantee)