Often we hear others say that people have goodness in them by nature. Many believe that an individual would opt to do the right thing when given a choice between right and wrong, or at least, pick whatever he or she thinks is the right thing to do. I suppose it’s determined by whether the person has the right information to be able to tell the difference.
Turning our attention to the presently dead Pasig River, we already KNOW the river is so polluted, so filthy, so filled with all sorts of debris and garbage coming from different wastewater canals around Metro Manila so darn much it’s definitely D-E-A-D. If that’s so, what’s stopping us from cleaning it up? Don’t we hear of fun runs and fund raisers held for Pasig River every year with some name that gives the impression the river could be rescued as if it isn’t dead yet? Haven’t the media picked this up yet? Haven’t those big corporations who pollute the same dead river sponsored these fun runs and events to act like they’re saving it? Didn’t somebody just fall into Pasig River’s murky waters over there at Punta Park in Sta. Ana last August 15th? Fellow Filipinos, it’s 2010. Aren’t we so AWARE of Pasig River already?
Apparently the answer to that last question is yes. Yes because every year there are awareness-generating fun runs and events; yes because the media has reported on Pasig River’s condition numerous times; yes because the big corporations do milk these sponsored events for all their worth in publicity and (apparent) goodwill; and yes, a man named Manolo Campued fell into Pasig River on August 15th of 2010, and didn’t come back alive. Those who don’t know probably don’t care, so we can’t really expect much from making them aware. For those who do care, let me ask you: after all this awareness, why hasn’t the river been cleaned?
There’s no budget? That’s a cop-out, come on. I won’t get into how funds could have been appropriated alongside other government expenses because I don’t even know how far down Pasig River is in the administration’s priority list. I think we can safely say that it hasn’t been a priority at all for as long as we’ve been a restored democracy. But using the budget as an excuse is really a big cop-out on the part of Pinoy society. It’s like attempting to dry your big red SUV right underneath the Niagara Falls – you could pay China to devote all of its industrial might to produce all the chamois they could manufacture to dry your car with under the falls, and you’ll still stay wet with your car. If dumping garbage and wastes of varying toxicity onto the esteros or canals that drain into Pasig River does not stop, the pollution of the river will continue day after day, year after year. We already know that our sachet economy generates far more waste than we can currently manage, so is it too much to ask to stop the metaphorical Niagara Falls, i.e., the indiscriminate littering and irresponsible waste disposal? Seems like it is, for most Pinoys.
That’s where AWARENESS fails to push people into ACTION. It’s KNOWING but DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT.
What will it take for Pinoys to demand real action from the decision-makers and prime movers? How many more fun runs will we have before Filipinos urge the government to heavily penalize polluters of any given waterway including Pasig River itself? How many more outbreaks of dengue do Filipinos need to put up with before we’re convinced it’s our indifference towards our environment that gives mosquitoes many places to breed? How many typhoons the strength of Ondoy do we have to endure before we start using garbage cans?
Honestly, we’ve been aware all along. Awareness isn’t what is lacking.