Cove Manila balloon drop to set 'record-breaking wastefulness,' says watchdog

MANILA, Philippines – Entertainment nightclub Cove Manila should cancel its attempt to make an official Guinness world record with the largest balloon drop as it would only create “record-breaking wastefulness,” environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition said.

In a statement Sunday, December 30, the group said the Cove Manila New Year’s Eve event would be detrimental to the environment as the 130,000 balloons to be used, along with the resources needed to produce them, would add to pollution and waste.

"The event for sure will be record-breaking for its wastefulness considering the resources required to make the balloons and to organize the balloon drop for a few minutes of hollow entertainment for those who can afford it," EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero said.

The group likewise denounced the nightclub’s response to public outcry over the balloon drop.

Cove Manila in a statement posted on Facebook Saturday, December 29 sought to assure the public 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.

"Firstly, the balloons are biodegradable. Secondly, the balloon drop has been planned with solid environmental management protocols in place to minimize, if not eliminate, any possible impact on the environment. And thirdly, we are recycling all the balloons and creatively turning them into something useful," they said.

EcoWaste Coalition, though, said wastefulness of the event was not lessened by the use of biodegradable balloons or proposed plans to recycle used balloons.

“Considering the colossal volume of trash that our country generates, estimated at over 40,000 tons per day, we cannot help but question the propriety of (holding) wasteful events,” Lucero said.

The group said that instead of pushing through with the balloon drop, resources could instead be used to provide media noche bundles to poor families.

EcoWaste Coalition likewise commended the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for ordering Cove Manila to call off the event.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier ordered DENR officials to inform the nightclub to reconsider their plan and stop the activity, particularly the use of balloons which could end up as scattered garbage, according to a CNN Philippines report.

Despite this, Cove Manila has made no mention of calling off the event. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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