Given the escalating problem of trash, plastic pollution, and the reality of a climate crisis, it's all too easy to get mad, turn fearful, panic, and lose hope.
But a recent i-Witness documentary of Sandra Aguinaldo about the River Warriors of Pasig River gives hope.
It doesn't just show you the helpers already doing something about the problem, it also helps you realize that you can actually do something about it. Best of all, it puts the spotlight on the good that can happen when more people extend their helping hand.
For instance, there's the clean Estero de Paco, one of the 47 tributaries of the Pasig River.
It used to be a sorry pile of garbage but thanks to the combined efforts of the River Warriors and the local government unit, the influx of trash has been controlled and informal settlers have been relocated, allowing the body of water to breathe and flower better.
The same is true for the now lush-looking Estero de Magdalena, which has been cleared of trash, thanks to the efforts of the River Warriors.
These small wins give hope and strength to the River Warriors, a group of do-gooders under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources tasked to clean the 28 dirtiest tributaries of the Pasig River. Their job is never quite done.
"We’re doing our best in cleaning, but the problem of solid waste is behavioural change," said Pasig River Coordinating and Management Officer Asec. Joan Lagunda.
"Hangga't hindi natin ma-convince yung ating mga naninirahan diyan at mga tao mismo na hindi magtapon, mamatay na lang ang ating mga river patroller," she added.
"In fact, dekada na sila [naglilinis]. You can ask them, they've been there decades from the time na sinimulan ni Gina Lopez hanggang ngayon, 'yun pa rin ang ginagawa nila."
Lagunda said their main goal is to help the Pasig River reach a Class C classification. "At the moment, wala siyang class because the scientists don't know how to identify the river," she said almost jokingly.
According to the PRCMO, more than 5M kilos of solid waste have been retrieved from the Pasig River and its tributaries between January and June 2021 alone.
The work is never easy and the trash just keeps piling up, but with consistency and persistence, the River Warriors are proud to show the improvement of the Pasig River and its tributaries. — Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/LA, GMA News