DENR calls on Cove Manila to stop balloon drop event

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The Cove Manila, an indoor beach and nightclub located near Manila Bay, announced that on New Year's Eve, it will shower the area with 130,000 balloons.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 30) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) called on the organizers of a balloon drop event in Parañaque City to stop the activity due to environmental threats it posed.

In a message to CNN Philippines, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said he ordered Undersecretary Benny Antiporda to inform Cove Manila, an indoor beach and night club in Okada Manila, to stop its plan to shower the night club with 130,000 balloons.

"Yes, I directed Usec. Antiporda, the DENR Undersecretary for Ecological waste management to inform the organizers to reconsider their plan and stop that kind of activity, specifically the use of plastic balloon which could end up in the Manila Bay or thousands [of] plastics scattered as garbage," he said.

Cimatu added that DENR-NCR Regional Director Jackie Caancan will deliver the message to Okada to stop the balloon drop event.

The Cove Manila will no longer push through with the balloon drop stunt on New Year's eve "as a sign of respect" to the DENR.

The nightclub, in an earlier response to netizens' qualms about the event's environmental effects, said the event would be done indoors and will follow the government's waste disposal guidelines to avoid contributing to Manila Bay's pollution.

But in a separate interview, Usec. Antiporda said that Cove may face legal action if it pushes through with the balloon drop.

"We will coordinate with their management tomorrow morning, and if needed, we will stop them from doing so. If ever na ipipilit nila [they will force it], we have no choice but to conduct a legal action against them," Antiporda said.

Antiporda said Okada may be found guilty of violating Republic Act 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Greenpeace campaigner Abigail Aguilar denounced Cove Manila's event, after the night club said it will conduct the event to surpass a current Guinness World Record.

"Legally, there's no law yet that prohibits them from doing such. But, given the scale of pollution here in our country, this activity is not what we need right now. This record is something literally no one asked for," Aguilar told CNN Philippines.

The Guinness World Records previously said it no longer monitors events which may prove detrimental to the environment.