Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Green river

As a child, I had nightmares about falling into the Pasig River, for even in the 70's it was already known as a polluted body of water. In my nightmares, I would be running along the concrete banks and would lose balance and fall into the brackish blackness, waking up just as I hit the water.

The Pasig has not had a break in a long time. Factories and squatters have released so much chemical and organic pollutants into the water for decades. Plans to rehabilitate it are constantly being mentioned by civic groups, and former First Lady Amelita Ramos was once at the forefront of a Pasig clean-up project.

From where I sit in any vehicle passing over the Pasig through a bridge or two, the water is black, usually filled with garbage, and occasionally you catch sight of the Pasig Ferry, that takes commuters from Makati to Manila. Very rarely do I see rowers punting about, although friends have told us about their experiences in rowing teams taking their boats out onto the river. This morning, waiting through traffic, I looked out over the river and saw that it was covered in waterlily plants. I call them waterlilies but am not quite sure what aquatic plant they are. I've never actually seen them flower. But I do know they swarm over the river and seem to sprout overnight. This morning was such a case, I know I hadn't seen any yesterday, but this morning, swathes of the green plants made the river look rather festive and healthy. I don't know if they are good for whatever fish remain in the river, or if they suck up any nutrients for plants that kill algae (if said plants are managing to thrive in the Pasig). But as a verdant flotilla, they are a prettier sight than watching pink plastic bags float along the water.


ChichaJo said...

I was one of those people who used to row in the Pasig! :) What an experience!

I would hate it when we would get caught in one of those waterlily clumps and have to row ourselves could see the tiny frogs eggs or other unidentified eggs among the leaves :(

It was fun though :)

Katrina said...

Life finds a way. :-)

Though, given what's in the Pasig river, those might very well be radioactive mutant water lilies. Check them out at night, and see if they glow in the dark!

mtan said...

Hi Joey, yes I remembered your stories :) yoiks tiny frog eggs! Mutant frogs by now I'm sure!
Katrina, yeah, those things must glow in some radioactive fashion. Green by day, neon by night.

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