BY sight, people who live along its banks have long known that their river is dying. Its thick stench constantly hangs in the air, like a corpse that remains unburied.
The Marilao, Meycauayan and Obando river system has been identified recently by the Blacksmith Institute, a New York-based environmental watchdog, as one of the filthiest places on earth.
“Industrial waste is haphazardly dumped into the Marilao, Meycauayan and Obando river system, a source of drinking and agricultural water supplies for the 250,000 people living in and around this suburb of Manila,” Blacksmith Institute’s 2007 report said. “Carcinogenic hexavalent chromium, lead, and human sewage are just a few components of this toxic stew,” it added.
Local government officials, business leaders and community groups have taken notice, and have begun a process to revive the river, which may take years or decades of efforts and commitment.
This slide show is a multimedia supplement of PCIJ’s Power and Poisons series.
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