Bid to ban balloon, sky lantern releasing lauded

An environmental advocate said that City Councilor Maria Belen Sunga Acosta’s proposal on Tuesday to ban totally the releasing of balloons and sky lanterns in Davao City is a welcome development in line with the celebration of the Zero Waste Month.

The celebration was declared by then President Benigno S. Aquino III through Proclamation No. 760 in 2014.

Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) acting executive director Chinkie Peliño-Golle said that the group commends Acosta’s action in pushing it to the council.

“We never opened it up to her. But we are happy that she is very proactive even if she is not the head of the committee on environment,” Golle said on Tuesday right after the regular session at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Councilor Diosdado Angelo Mahipus Sr. heads the City Council committee on environment and national resources. Meanwhile, Acosta heads the committee on peace and order.

Mahipus, on the other hand, proposed for the ban of single use plastic in the city.

“We will be attending a committee hearing this week, wherein both Mahipus’ and Acosta’s proposal will be consolidated,” Golle said.

She hopes that both proposals will be passed by the council before the start of the midterm election campaign period.

On Tuesday, Acosta filed her proposal on first reading.

The proposal came right after Cove Manila Hotel’ attempt to set a world record to release 130,000 balloons, as part of its New Year’s Eve countdown celebration.

Environmental groups and concerned citizens had expressed their concerns that it might cause environmental impact, causing the organizers to cancel the plan.

Acosta said that stakeholders, such as environmental groups, event coordinators, balloon and sky lantern manufacturers and sellers will be invited in crafting the ordinance.

Katrina Claire Pasco, event organizer for Kalebs Balloons & Party Services, said that the ordinance is just and for the betterment of the environment.

“I can foresee that the proposal will really gain different reactions. Taking these balloons out of the party scenes will be challenging especially that it is already our practice,” Pasco said.

“Parties will be even happier and more meaningful knowing that we are doing something for our environment,” she said.