Philippines:
Taking Action Against River Pollution

the details…
Date started
2017
Funders
HSBC
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HSBC and Pure Earth completed a four-year, successful project from 2013- 2017 that engaged more than 300 HSBC employees and produced cleaner fish and shrimp for more than 200,000 people, trained 370 fish farmers in low-cost, effective techniques to reduce contamination in their fishponds, and tracked the effectiveness of government and nonprofit interventions in reducing pollution in one river system. To leverage and expand the successes of the previous project, Pure Earth and HSBC embarked on a new project, “Taking Action Against River Pollution”.

This project will demonstrate HSBC’s commitment to reducing river pollution by:

  • Expanding pollution tracking work to three new rivers
  • Investigating pollution in fish consumed in Metro Manila
  • Increasing knowledge transfer to consumers, employees, government officials, and communities about cleaner practices, importance of the river system, and effective pollution-reducing programs

Purpose

The key purpose of this project is to help reduce pollution in the key rivers that support livelihoods for the poor, provide water for families that live along the banks, and impact the Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay ecosystems, including the safety of aquaculture fish. Engaging at least 1,500 HSBC employees is critical to the success of this labor-intensive project, the outcomes of which seek to help improve the health and wellbeing of people in Metro Manila.

This is parallel to the country’s Integrated Water Resource Management goals that is to strengthen water quality monitoring and management, to contribute to the understanding of the water quality status and trends and the benefit of sustainable wastewater management and to implement initiatives guided by the Integrated Water Quality Management Framework (IWQMF) which is the policy mechanism of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 that integrates all the existing frameworks prepared by all government agencies on water quality involving pollution from all sources.

Project Elements

4 Inter-related Components:

  • River Quality Monitoring (RQM) or pollution tracking in local rivers
  • Fish Quality Monitoring (FQM) or investigation of fish contamination in local markets
  • Volunteer Engagement Activities (VEA) or days of action to educate communitiesalong the rivers as well as fish vendors and consumers about pollution, to clean up river stretches in partnership with local communities, to map pollution sources in these localities, and plant trees and set up mangrove nurseries where applicable
  • Capacity Building and Awareness Raising (CBAR) or capacitation of local stakeholders through river forums, best practice exhibits and exposure trips, trainings and workshops
  • 1,500+ HSBC employees engaged with multiple, diverse activities to choose from
  • Opportunities for community, school-children, and other participants (including customers and suppliers) to participate
  • Supports 6 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Combines employee and community knowledge transfer, scientific data gathering, and hands-on environmental clean-up activities

As of date, the project has already delivered above and beyond the agreed upon outputs with the following highlights: 

  • Engaged 1,898 HSBC employee volunteers (126.5% of target 1,500)
  • Engaged community members 970 (485% of target 200)
  • 12 monitoring days covering dry and wet season for 3 rivers
  • 6 fish quality monitoring days
  • 5 river/coastal clean ups, over 26 tons of wastes collected
  • 5 tree planting events, over 5,000 trees planted
  • 40 fisherfolks trained on Hito (catfish) and Biya breeding and culture and 37 fisherfolks trained on sustainable fish farm practices 

On top of the above accomplishments, the project continues with the implementation of community-determined projects such as provision of tiller for the Ubihan, Meycauayan Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Management Council (FARMC), construction and initial operationalization of the catfish hatchery in partnership with the Lake Management Office of Muntinlupa City, and underway, the construction of a material recovery facility in Brgy. Tandang Sora, Quezon City. 

Press Release: Catfish hatchery brings new opportunity to Muntinlupa City fisherfolks amidst pandemic