Beauty Company Shokubutsu Hana Makes A Living Billboard That Can Clean Philippines' Pasig River

The Philippines are home to stunning volcanos, breathtaking coral reefs, underground lakes, and 500-year-old churches, among other inviting attractions. Unfortunately, they're also home to some of the most polluted rivers in the world. The Pasig River, which flows through the Metro Manila area, is filled with harmful wastewater. However, that may change soon: Shokubutsu Hana, a line of natural personal care products, has created a living billboard that cleans the river water that passes through it.

The river is, by all accounts, disgusting. According to the WEPA (Water Environment Partnership in Asia), "Pasig River is shimmering with oil slicks, has unpleasant odor, dark colored water, hyacinth blooms, and floating garbage and feces. The river is also known to have high organic loads and contaminate with heavy metals, pesticides, nitrates, and phosphates...presence of these materials has degraded the water quality of Pasig River, consequently upsetting its ecological balance." What makes this even more dire is that it runs through the largest metropolitan area in the Philippines. Although several laws regarding river cleanliness have been passed during the last two decades, they haven't been able to reverse or even halt the environmental effects of uncontrolled industrialization.

Pasig River is shimmering with oil slicks, has unpleasant odor, dark colored water, hyacinth blooms, and floating garbage and feces.

Enter Japanese brand Shokubutsu Hana.

Now, I don't mean to portray the brand entirely as environmental knights on white horses, riding in to save the river. After all, they are a company, and this move also serves as good publicity for their products. But there's no way to deny that the living billboard is a) creative, and b) good for the river. The billboard, which bears the text "Clean River Soon," is made of vetiver, a handy, non-invasive grass that's often used to stabilize landfills and wastewater sites. It's capable of cleaning between 2 and 8 thousand gallons of water per day.


According to their Facebook page, HANA sells "beauty products inspired by nature." And although they might be a corporate entity, they've done several other projects that promote natural, environmentally-friendly beauty. Their February campaign, #NoFilterBeauty, celebrated healthy beauty. Check out Instagram for some of the images people uploaded in response.

This billboard marks a growing trend in companies showing interest in environmentally friendly pursuits. Another similar effort is an air purification billboard in Peru, which generates more clean air than 1,200 trees. The billboard, which is the brain child of a Peruvian engineering college, traps pollutants in a water filter. Other entities are also stepping forward to champion environmental rights. Two weeks ago, Google's home page honored Rachel Louise Carson, one of the inspirations for the environmental movement.

I say: full steam ahead to any group that is willing to make a change or provide support. The IPCC has recently released a report that forecasts what might happen in the future, like constant wildfires and underwater beaches, if we don't pay environmental issues more heed. If you don't believe me, check out this article.

Small steps in the right direction, like these billboards, might be the precursor to better awareness and action on global warming and pollution. Otherwise, we could find ourselves up the proverbial creek without a paddle.