It’s good news that fish have started to appear in the Pasig River, but they’re not good enough to eat just yet because of high coliform

Published 6:29 PM, August 14, 2019

Updated 6:29 PM, August 14, 2019

TOXIC. Fish returns to the Pasig River, but they can't be eaten just yet. Photo from PRRC

TOXIC. Fish returns to the Pasig River, but they can’t be eaten just yet. Photo from PRRC

MANILA, Philippines – Several photos of huge fish caught in polluted Pasig River went viral on social media recently, much to the delight of Filipinos.

They praised the government, particularly the efforts of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), for cleaning up the river and the return of huge tilapias (LOOK:)

While the PRRC noted that 8 species of fish have already returned and now live in Pasig River just after a , the agency noted that the fish caught there is not ideal for human consumption.

PRRC examined tissues of fish caught in several areas of Pasig River and found that it exceeded the limit of fecal coliform fit for human consumption.

The limit is only at 10 most probable number per gram (MPN/g), but some fish caught in some areas reached as high as 2,400 MPN/g.

Fish samples in the Guadalupe Ferry and Santa Ana Ferry area had significant levels of lead and mercury.

Photo from PRRC

Photo from PRRC

Meanwhile, the 3-kilogram tilapia that was caught in Estero de San Miguel had high chromium content.

“Due to the presence of contaminants in the fishes collected, the PRRC would like to inform the public that deliberate and large consumption of the fishes in the Pasig River System may pose health risks in due time,” the PRRC said.

“It is highly advisable to prevent any conduct of contact recreational activities and consumption of freshwater organisms until further notice once sufficient and comprehensive scientific research has been made,” it added.

PRRC added that the presence of more fish indicates that the river’s state has indeed improved, but noted that the rehabilitation is still an ongoing process. –