Rapid increases in population and commercial activity brought concomitant environmental problems, and water and air pollution have become a great challenge to the leaders of Las Pinas City in the Philippines. Las Pinas has two major linked river systems: the Las Pinas River and the Zapote River. As Manila began to spread itself as a metropolis, industrial areas were first pushed outside its confines to the outer rim. As Metro Manila took its place as one of the world's most populated mega-cities, the industrial areas were again pushed towards the south, leaving the Las Pinas area as valuable suburbia.
Representative of the Lone District of Las Pinas City to Congress for nine years, Cynthia A. Villar was one of the few who believed the environment should not be a sacrificial lamb at the altar of progress and development. She launched the Sagip Ilog (River rehabilitation) program on December 13, 2002. Within the total 56-kilometer stretch of Las Pinas-Zapote River System, 30 kilometers are being regularly cleaned using various cleaning methods.
From 2002 to 2005, 9,070 residents from various communities along the river system in Las Pinas City, Paranaque City and Bacoor, Cavite were trained on ecological solid waste and river management. Community involvement is central to the success of this program, thus the local government officials and nearby communities actively participated in the information drive and capacity building activities. During the project, one kilometer of the Las Pinas riverbank in Barangay(village) Aldana was replanted with 500 culms of the above-stated bamboo species. The success of this project inspired its replication in the area. In addition to the improvement of the environment, other social enterprises resulted from the river rehabilitation initiative. All of these enterprises utilize materials that threatened the river ecosystem, but now can be utilized for the benefit of the people.
Screening and Identification Process:
Best Practices Award Winner (2011 Category 1)
River basin and/or place:
Las Pinas-Zapote River System
To clean daily 30/56 kilometers of the Las Pinas-Zapote River System through floating garbage collection and installing filters for waste and debris. Also, to re-green 5 kilometers of the river to minimize soil erosion that caused siltation.
Technologies and Techniques Implemented:
River dredging; clean-up replanting; steel garbage traps/wire mesh strainers