World Records Can’t Clean Up Pasig River

So did it or did it not? Did the much-vaunted Pasig River Fun Run held last Sunday, October 10, 2010, break any Guinness World Record?

The available information is conflicting. Some reports say the event only broke a local record. Others say it did surpass the existing record of 110,000 running participants set in the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco, California in 1988.

Whatever.

Record or no record, the important question is did this running/marketing/public relations event really make a difference for the Pasig River?

If you happen to be an idiot you’d probably believe the press releases that the event raised the people’s awareness about cleaning up Pasig River and protecting the environment. Riiight. You are an idiot.

As I wrote before, people who participate in advocacy runs are not necessarily interested in the advocacy part. They just love to run. To say that the more than 100,000 people who joined 10:10:10 did so because of some great concern for the river is simply false.

But so what? As some people might say, the more important point is whether the event raised a significant amount of money. Let’s do the math, again.

Assuming 120,000 people ran the foot race all of whom paid the registration fee of P250 then the event easily raised P30,000,000. Yes, that’s THIRTY MILLION PESOS!

Now, I read somewhere that only half of what was raised will be used to finance a dredging operation on one (yes just one) estero. This begs the question: Will dredging one estero make a difference?

Well, I have to concede doing something is better than doing nothing, but here’s a question: How long will an estero remain clean and garbage free if the source of pollution is still there?

Another question: How many fun runs does Miss Gina Lopez have to organize to clean up the whole river? Of course, the showbizy answer that will certainly resonate with the simple-minded is “As many as it takes.” Incidentally, a day after the fun run, the organizers came out with a full page ad which had the heading “Believing is the first step.” Didn’t I say simple-minded?

I seriously doubt if simply believing actually produces real results. I’m more of a “believe and take the correct action” kind of guy so all this “just believe” mantra is nothing but crap to me.

I close this rant with one simple fact — Fun runs do more for their organizers and sponsors than they do for the cause.

Believe.

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Update:

I was wrong.

Many of the fun run participants had other reasons for joining aside from a great love for running. Check out the following comments I found in various places.

haynaku **** andun ako sa pila ng finisher’s band when Manny was called on the stage. inde namin kita, akala ng iba joke lang o baka si manny poohkyaw lang. mas gusto nilang makuha ang band kesa alamin.

umalis na ko sa pila. nagkakagulo na eh, nagkaubusan kse ng band. baka magka-suntukan pa eh. hehehe..

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Hahahaha. Ako chinaga ko e. Mahilig kase ako sa souvenirs!

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Kaya ko pa sana.. i can stay longer. kaso hanap na ko ng mga kasama ko. badtrip ung pagorganize nila ng pamimigay ng finisher’s band. sana dun nalang sa finish line inabot. (ayan, ngaun lang ako naasar. delayed reaction. hahaha).

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at meron din inde naman finishers na nag-claim. may pumipila na hawak sandamukal na bands eh. (sour graping). haha.. dapat dun sa tabi ng nagbibilang inaabot. (asar). hahaha!

And what is this finishers band they’re talking about?

I guess there’s nothing like having an environmentally fashionable wrist band to make you feel like you’ve helped clean up the environment.

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