Cove Manila cancels controversial balloon drop
MANILA, Philippines – Cove Manila cancelled the supposed record-breaking New Year’s Eve balloon dropping event which drew flak from netizens and several environmental groups.
In a statement released Sunday, December 30, Cove Manila said that they had “voluntarily decided” to cancel the event upon recommendation from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The DENR urged the establishment “to redirect their efforts towards more sustainable, environmentally-friendly activities” instead.
“We received today a letter from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) encouraging Okada Manila to cancel the event,” the statement read.
The management assured the agency at first that there will be no negative environmental impact from the event, but later decided to scrap the ball drop entirely “as a sign of respect to the DENR’s recommendation and in support of the Government’s campaign to protect and save the environment.”
Okada Manila maintained, however, that the balloon dropping event will not harm the environment in any way.
In a previous Facebook post, Cove Manila said that the event is "not a whimsical effort to just 'play' with thousands of balloons" but an effort to make a new world record for the country and demonstrate fun in a responsible way.
The ball dropping event drew negative criticism from netizens on social media, noting that the 130,000 balloons to be used might add to the worsening pollution and waste in the country.
Environmental groups also condemned the event, and immediately called for its cancellation.
Environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition said that the event would only create “record-breaking wastefulness.” Another group, The Climate Reality Project, also called on Guinness World Records to remind them that events must be consistent with their stand of no longer recording environmental challenges.
Greenpeace Philippines called the activity a "travesty and injurious to our already suffering environment."
"The plan to set a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest balloon drop is an event and a record nobody wants to have nor asked for. As a Filipino, there is nothing to be proud of from this so-called ‘biggest balloon drop’ event," the statement read.
The organization also raised questions against Cove Manila's means of ensuring that not one balloon would add to pollution, noting that recycling has "become an excuse" for events detrimental to the environment.
While the controversial event has been dropped, all other events and festivities scheduled for the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party will not be affected.– Rappler.com