Reducing Mercury and Heavy Metals Contamination in Meycauayan River

This PDA pilot tested locally-fabricated, cost-effective technologies to reduce mercury and other heavy metals in the Meycauayan river system.

Report Card

Completed in May 2009, this PDA

  • Conducted a comprehensive study on heavy metal pollution in the Meycauayan River 
  • Established structural and political reforms to institutionalize mechanisms for ensuring sustained action on the river system’s pollution
  • Established harmonious collaboration among key players to address the key concerns of each sector, such as:
    • cost-effective technologies for the industries
    • information and education of the labor force and the general public on the hazards of heavy metal exposure
    • increased capacity of health care workers in curing heavy metal contamination
    • organized political body for implementing reforms
    • healthier river system for the Bulacan province.

Read the Final Report. [ PDF ]

View IEC Materials (Filipino)


The Meycauayan River running through the province of Bulacan is on the verge of mercury and heavy metal toxicity. Artisanal gold and precious metal refiners that use toxic heavy metals lie on the upstream causing much of the pollution. They have no waste treatment facilities and the emissions, solid and liquid wastes from the refining process, find their way into the atmosphere, river system, and eventually to thousands of hectares of fishponds downstream and urban communities that depend highly on groundwater sources.

But while clean-up projects of the river system, including the tributaries in the nearby towns of Marilao and Obando, have begun, plans to address the waters’ high toxicity level have still to materialize. This PDA demonstrated appropriate technologies for reducing mercury and heavy metal contamination in the Meycauayan river system.

Expected Outcome

  • Baseline survey
  • Assessment of gold and precious metals refinery
  • Information, Education, and Communication Plan
  • Mercury retort technology
  • Scrubber
  • Capacity building and organizing a Water Quality Management Board