I guess most of you know that my pet peeve is balloon release. I do not understand why is there a need to release balloon into the air. OK, maybe it looks nice to see hundreds of balloons floating in the air. But does anyone think about the consequences of balloon release? Do they know that what goes up must come down?
Someone informed me that there is a segment in this year’s National Day Parade where they release balloons into the air. I wrote an email to the NDP feedback in late June informing them the harms of balloon release and hope they would consider removing balloon release as part of the NDP program. Below is the email that I send to them, dated 28 June 2009.
Subject: Balloon release during NDP09
Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 00:51:42
I understand from some of the participants of this year’s National Day Parade that hundreds of red balloons were released into the air in one of the segment. I hope the organizing committee would reconsider and remove this non-environmentally friendly activity from our Nation’s celebration. Balloon release is a form of pollution. The
balloons will fall back to the ground several hours after being release and become litter on the ground or the sea. There are also reported case where sea turtle die after swallowing balloon.
Please consider removing the balloon release segment. I’m sure we can celebrate our nation’s birthday without harming the environment.
Thanks & Regards
One week later, I got an reply from the NDP Relations Officer.
Subject: Re: Balloon release during NDP09
Date: July 6, 2009 5:03:15 PM SST
Thank you for your suggestion. We are aware of your concerns and are working closely with National Environment Agency (NEA) on how we can balance pollution concerns viz-a-viz the artistic creativity the NDP 09 Show require for a meaningful and memorable celebration for Singapore. We will be taking you point into consideration and explore how we can mitigate the environmental challenge posed by the release of these balloons during the show with NEA.
I was glad that the NDP Exco decided to work with NEA and look into the issue. I went over to the Esplanade during one of the combined rehearsal and didn’t see them releasing balloons. I thought that item was removed from the National Day Parade. I was wrong. They did not remove the segment. I was shocked to see the performers releasing hundreds of balloons into the air during the actual NDP.
And if I’m not mistaken, the balloons they used are made of mylar instead of latex rubber. Mylar balloon is worst than latex rubber balloon. Mylar does not biodegrade! Mylar balloons should never be used for balloon release. Did anyone from NDP read the link that I’ve send them? It was already stated there clearly. Did they work with NEA? Did anyone from NEA tell them that balloon release is harmful to the environment? Did anyone tell them that if they die die must release balloon, they should at least use latex rubber balloon without any nylon or string attached to the balloon? Did anyone from NEA tell them that they should never ever use mylar balloon?
So what are the steps taken by NDP Exco and NEA to reduce the damages done by the balloon release? Did they have a net or a plane in the sky to collect the balloon after it is being released? Or did they send ships out to the sea to recover the balloons? Or did they just ignore all warnings and go ahead with the balloon release? Who cares right? Doing a good show is more important than the environment.
And can someone from NDP creative department explain to me why you guys die die must release balloon for National Day? I don’t remember balloon release being an important part of Singapore culture that it must be performed during our nation’s birthday. Perhaps the creative director for NDP09, Mr Ivan Heng, can explain to me why is balloon release so important that it cannot be removed from the NDP celebration? What is so special about releasing hundreds of balloons into the air? Why do we need to harm the environment in order to do a “meaningful and memorable celebration for Singapore”? Can’t anyone from the creative department think of another memorable action to replace the balloon release? Is that the only creative idea that the creative department can think of?
I’m totally disappointed with this year’s NDP exco, Ivan Heng and NEA. Warning has been send to you more than one month before National Day. Yet you guys choose to ignore the warning and go ahead with the stupid and meaningless balloon release.