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DENR urges Cove Manila to cancel balloon drop event

MANILA, Philippine – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Sunday, December 30, urged Cove Manila to cancel its planned balloon drop event during New Year's Eve for being harmful to the environment. 

"We urge Cove Manila and Okada Manila to cancel the balloon drop activity and to redirect their efforts towards more sustainable, environmentally-friendly activities that the majority of Filipinos will enjoy and be proud of," the DENR's Biodiversity Management Bureau said in a statement on Sunday.

Cove Manila announced that it will host a balloon drop event on December 31 – an attempt to set a Guinness World Records with 130,000 balloons dropping in an an indoor dome.

Environmental groups and ordinary citizens have expressed their rage on social media over what they called a wasteful event that will contribute to the increasing plastic waste in the country.

Addressing the negative reactions, Cove Manila defended the event by saying that balloons are biodegradable.

The DENR, however, said they will still contribute to waste.

"Biodegradable balloons, although made of natural latex, may take six (6) months to four (4) years or more to decompose naturally, depending on the amount and on the ability of microorganisms to breakdown large quantities," the DENR said.

Cove Manila assured there were environmental protocols in place, but the DENR said that the balloons "are still harmful if ingested by wildlife and still contribute to waste, despite the observance of proper disposal guidelines."

The DENR also called out Cove Manila for the latter's defense of its efforts toward protecting the environment.

Cove Manila said in its statement that it joined the DENR months ago in a coastal cleanup in the the Las Piñas-Parañaque area prove its :"corporate social responsibility."

"The regular Coastal Cleanup which Okada Manila had participated in partnership with the department not only aims to reduce litter and debris in the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area but to spread the call of ending the flow of trash at the source. With this balloon drop event, it was made clear to us that Okada Manila did not actually grasp the rationale of the cleanup activity," the DENR said.

Cove Manila is an indoor entertainment space inside the Okada Manila complex.

"The attempt of setting a World Record is futile as environmentally-impactful records such as the above-mentioned are no longer being monitored by the Guinness World Records," the DENR said. Rappler.com