"Stop balloon release on July 12", writes environmental group to Tnalak Festival organizers

An open letter addressed to the organizers of Tnalak Festival is gaining a lot of attention online.

Environmental awareness group Kidlikasan on their Facebook page writes about their opposition with regards to the releasing of lighted balloons scheduled on July 12, 2017 at the South Cotabato Sports Complex as part of this year's Tnalak Festival.

The group discourages the activity which according to them has negative impacts on the environment.

Read the full text of the letter below:
Kidlikasan writes open letter to Tnalak Festival organizers: "Stop balloon release on July 12"

An open letter to the organizers of Tnalak Festival 2017.

Green Greetings!

We would like to express our opposition with regards to the release of lighted balloons in South Cotabato Sports Complex on July 12, 2017 as this pose environmental hazard to both terrestrial and aquatic biomes.

Balloons negatively impact our environment by littering streams, lakes, and beaches. It’s basically the same as intentionally throwing trash on the ground or into the ocean. Though some are claiming for releasing biodegradable balloon made of natural latex, after adding plasticizers and artificial dyes, it becomes unnatural thus it takes longer to be degraded. Furthermore, several countries had already banned the release of balloons and sky lanterns. In the Philippines, house bill 2334 was filed by the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago limiting the number of balloons released to 25 and penalty of 1000 Php for every release.

Scientific study shows that there was an increasing trend of both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife death for the past ten years due to Balloon ingestion and string entanglement. When balloons make their way into the water, their tattered ends and floating pieces can resemble as food for many marine organisms such as sea turtles, fish, and dolphins. When the pieces of latex or Mylar are mistaken for food and ingested, they can get lodged in the digestive tract, inhibiting animal’s ability to eat and causing a slow and painful death by starvation. Terrestrial Wildlife can also fall victim to balloons and balloon strings when the pieces fall to the ground or onto trees and bushes. Birds have been found injured with ribbons wrapped around their beaks or wings, and have strangled themselves when they become entangled in strings attached to trees or power lines. And just like marine animals, they can succumb to a painful death after ingesting balloons.

Though geographically landlocked, the province of South Cotabato is not spared with this environmental hazard. The major streams and rivers of the province drained within Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape where diverse flora and fauna can be found, including marine turtles, whale sharks, and marine mammals. The Allah Valley Protected Landscaped which was believed to be the home of the Philippine Eagle bounds some area of the province and Mount Matutum Protected Landscape teeming with wildlife bounds the province to some area of Sarangani.

With these reasons, we would like to discourage this activity as this is not eco-friendly and environmentally harmful. Rather we would like to propose alternatives to the event. A butterfly or dove release purchased from the locally available shop would make a dramatic commemoration of the activity. A Bubble Party can also be thrown in which constituents can participate. Murals painted palm can also be built to show how South Cotabato celebrates unity amidst diversity.

We believe that we have this common vision of protecting our environment. We are afraid if not given full attention this issue may be raised by someone else which may cause embarrassment to our beloved province just like what happened in Hundreds island in Pangasinan where it sparks the attention of angry conservationist in the Social media after releasing LED balloons during their annual celebration.

It’s time to change our ways and be sensitive to the impacts we are creating to our environment.

Thank you and Happy T’nalak Festival!

PS. We have sent a formal letter to your office and we are glad that you replied. To Our dismay, it seemed that you are more concern about the value of the Ordered balloons than the value we will be losing on the negative impacts of this activity on our environment. We're literally wasting money to throw trashes in the air. The celebration is all about interfaith, but aren't all faiths in life teach us to be a steward of our environment? How ironic it is! Goodluck to your activity.

Post a Comment

Comments Here

Previous Post Next Post