MANILA -- The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) on Tuesday warned the public against eating fish caught in Pasig River.
"Our advise kung pwede wag muna nilang kainin,” Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia told ABS-CBN. “Ayon sa mga pagsusuri ng ating dalubhasa the fish is not safe to eat yet.”
(Our advise is that they shouldn’t eat it. According to the tests done by experts, the fish is not yet safe to eat.)
Goitia said this following viral reports of giant fish being caught in the river.
He said this has encouraged more people to catch fish. However, while the river conditions have been improving - the reason why fish are proliferating - the fish caught there are still not safe for human consumption.
PRRC public information head George Oliver de la Rama said they recently tested a 3-kilogram tilapia, which was around 20 inches long.
The lab test showed that the fish, caught in Estero de San Miguel, had safe levels of fecal coliform and other metals. But its chromium levels were higher than the quality standards for fish. Chromium VI is a toxic heavy metal used in various industries.
It could be because there are houses and businesses in the area, said De La Rama.
In February this year, the PRRC started testing fish caught in different parts of the river - kanduli in Napindan; tilapia, kanduli and banak in Guadalupe; banak in Sta. Ana; and banak and bugaong in Manila Bay.
The fish from all four areas had high levels of fecal coliform. While the quality standard for fecal coliform is 10 mpn/g (most probable number per gram) of fish tissue, the fish in Napindan had 930 mpn/g, the fish in Guadalupe 2400 mpn/g and the one in Sta. Ana 93 mpn/g. The fish caught near Manila Bay had 14 mpn/g of fecal coliform, which is still unsafe to eat.
De la Rama said the levels have improved compared to 10 years ago but it is still unsafe for consumption. The fish caught near the Guadalupe and Sta. Ana ferry stations also had relatively high levels of lead and mercury.
Despite reminders from the PRRC, Goitia said people continue to catch fish in Pasig River to feed their families. They hope the lab results would make them more wary about eating the fish, which end up consuming waste and toxins left in the river.