The Okada Manila casino resort in Pasay City has decided to cancel its 130,000-balloon drop at Cove Manila on New Year’s eve to break a world record in welcoming 2019.
It made the decision following a warning from Environment department officials who said they would not hesitate to press charges if the Guinness World Record attempt pushed through and harmed the environment.
The department praised Okada Manila’s decision.
“It is, indeed, laudable on the part of the various establishments for voluntarily canceling their “balloon drop or release” activities in the name of environmental protection,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.
Okada Manila’s decision “is worth emulating not only by other establishments in this country but also in other parts of the world.”
After Okada Manila’s decision, at least two other establishments followed suit.
In a Facebook post on Monday, The Peninsula Manila said it will no longer have its balloon drop “as it is not in keeping with our sustainable luxury vision 2020 philosophy.
“We at The Peninsula Manila have traditionally celebrated welcoming the New Year with a party, but oftentimes it’s all too easy for the celebrations to come with a big price tag for the planet,” the hotel said.
In a statement, the Okada Manila management said it had coordinated with the Environment department to show that everything was in place to ensure there would be no negative environmental impact from the activity.
“[But] Okada Manila firmly believes and continues to maintain that the Balloon Dropping event will not harm the environment,” the casino resort said.
“However, the management of Okada Manila has voluntarily decided to cancel the Balloon Drop event as a sign of respect to the Environment department’s recommendation and in support of the government’s campaign to protect and save the environment.”
The group Ecowaste Coalition had earlier asked Okada and Cove Manila officials not to push through with the event, saying it would set a record-breaking wastefulness.
“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,” said Aileen Lucero, Ecowaste national coordinator.
The group insisted that the massive dropping of 130,000 balloons at Cove Manila should be canceled in light of the uproar that had prompted the Environment department to intervene.