I just found out that Punggol West is organising a Countdown Party on New Years Eve and they will be doing a mass balloon release at midnight. Hurray!!!
PS: that “hurray” is in a sarcastic tone.
I don’t understand why people like to release balloon. It looks great for a few minutes. But has anyone ever wonder where the balloons goes? According to UK Marine Conservation Society, 90-95% of released balloons rise to an altitude of 8KM where the temperature and pressure is such that they burst into small fragments. The remaining 5-10% that do not reach a high enough altitude may remain inflated and can float many miles before descending back to the land or the sea semi-inflated.
If we are lucky, the balloons just end up as litter in the sea or forest. If we are not, then a sea turtle or bird might mistook the balloon as their prey and choke on it. If there is any ribbon or string tied to the balloon, they might end up entangling wildlife.
Please, do me a favor. Go to Punggol West Facebook page and comment on the posting. Tell them to stop the mass balloon release event. If you are a Pasir Ris – Punggol GRC resident, write to your MP. Tell them to stop Punggol West RC from polluting the environment.
Update: The organising committee have decided to cancel the mass balloon release.

Hi Jun Yi, Christopher, Jia Han, Ria, Jason, Michelle and Kenny
I’m writing this open letter to all of you with regards to the NUS Rag Day 2010 opening ceremony that is organised by the 31st NUSSU EXCO. In case you all forgot what happen, here is a Youtube video.

I’m not sure if you guys are aware of the harmful effects of balloon release. If you don’t, please spare a few minutes to read this website by Marine Conservation Society.
I don’t know why is here a need to release balloon for a charity project like NUS Rag Day. Surely there are better way to mark the opening of a Charity Project.
I hope that you guys understand the harmful effect of balloon release. Here is a small request from me. Please put a ban on balloon release in NUS. Write it down somewhere in the NUSSU constitution so that your future EXCO will not repeat the same mistake again. I hope I don’t have to write another open letter to the next NUSSU EXCO.
Thank you for your time.
Yours faithfully

My blog entry regarding the *SCAPE balloon release was retweeted several times yesterday. Someone also posted the link to the blog entry on *SCAPE’s facebook fan page. I guess the message is loud enough. We don’t want balloon release. It does no good to the environment.
I’m glad that *SCAPE finally respond to the issue on their facebook page.

Thanks for the concern and comments you have made regarding the balloon release during our Launch Festival. The information has been noted and *SCAPE will take care to avoid such incidents in the future.
Moving forward, *SCAPE is committed to work together with you and push your environmental concerns forward! Tell us your ideas on how we can publicize and educate others regarding other environmental causes.
Tell us how *SCAPE can play a part in improving the environment! Suggest events, topics, campaigns, or anything that can further publicise the causes you feel should be more made known in Singapore. *SCAPE might just start a new activity to back these causes up!
We look forward to hear from you. 🙂

Salute to *SCAPE.
And thank you everyone for helping to spread the message. Let’s hope this is the last time a local company or organisation have balloon release.

I got a couple of SMS and emails from friends and blog readers last Saturday regarding *SCAPE doing a balloon release during their launch on 19 June 2010. The first thing that came to my mind was: What the Fuck were they thinking?

What is *SCAPE trying to do? Are they trying to tell our youth that balloon release is ok? “Hey, it’s the *SCAPE opening, the brand new park for the youth at Orchard. So why not just release 500 balloons into the air and see how they fly. Isn’t that a beautiful sight?”

Yes, 500 balloons floating in the air is a beautiful sight. But what about 500 balloons floating in the open sea for weeks or months? Or 500 balloons in the drains or forest as rubbish? That is not a beautiful sight. And you know what? That 500 balloons that Scape Park released on their opening night is most likely in the sea or the forest now. Good job Scape Park. Why not just give all attendees 500 deflated balloons and let them litter on your sparking new park?

I’ve been saying this again and again on my blog that balloon release is harmful to the environment. If we are lucky, the balloon just end up as litter in the sea or forest. If we are not lucky, a sea turtle or bird might mistook the balloon as their prey and choke on it. Balloon release is unnecessary and I still do not understand why any organization would put balloon release as part of their event.
It sadden me every time when I see ignorant organisation doing balloon release without researching or thinking. Common sense would tell you that the balloons that you release will fall back to earth as litter. Yet I do not understand why do they want to do it in the first place.
I can only spread the message on my blog. I’m glad I managed to convince some organizations to remove balloon release from their event. But there is only this much I can do. Please, if you are reading this, help educate the people around you. Tell them the harms of balloon release. Tell them not to take part in any activities that have balloon release as part of their program. If you see any events about to do balloon release, walk up to the organizers and tell them about the harm of balloon release.
As for the *SCAPE, my only question for them is: What kind of message are you sending to our youth? After reading their mission statement, I know 1 thing for sure that they failed in cultivating social responsibility.
PS: All photos on this blog were found online. I wasn’t at the event. If I am, I’ll most likely walk up to the organizers and tell them to stop the balloon release.
Update: *SCAPE responded on their facebook.

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.

From: DK
To: [email protected]
Subject: Balloon release during NDP09
Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 00:51:42
Dear Sir
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.

From: [email protected]
To: DK
Subject: Re: Balloon release during NDP09
Date: July 6, 2009 5:03:15 PM SST
Dear Sir,
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.
Relations Officer

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.

Wow, my blood was boiling at a new record high in the Singapore Book of Records too when reading this article.

Kotex held a party celebrating womanhood at Siloso Beach on Jun 20. To mark the event, over 1,300 balloons were set free, setting a new record in the Singapore Book of Records.
A spokesperson for Kotex says: “Kotex set free over 1,300 balloons containing myths and secrets about a woman’s body this Saturday (Jun 20) at the Life’s a Beach party at Siloso Beach!
“This is a brand new record in the Singapore book of Records!

Why is it that everybody likes to release balloons into the air to signify something? For goodness sake, 1300 balloons released in Sentosa. For what this time? Dispelling the myths and secrets about a woman’s body? You mean these 1300 “miracle balloons” can dispel the myth and secrets. Let me tell you what does mass balloon release signify. It signify that your company doesn’t care about the environment.
Let me remind everyone that what goes up must come down. Same goes for the 1300 balloons being released by Kotex last Saturday. Imagine the beach littered with deflated balloons. And balloons are known to pose as a threat to marine life. Releasing the 1300 balloons at Sentosa means that a large percentage of the balloon might end up in the sea. Did the organisers take that into consideration before implementing mass balloon release in their event?
Yes, this is indeed a new record in the Singapore book of Record, beating Marriage Central’s 1000 balloon release in March this year. Interestingly enough, the maximum number of balloons allowed for mass released is 500. So how exact did Kotex or its agency managed to apply for a permit for 1300 balloons? Or did they applied for a permit in the first place?
I personally think that 500 limit for mass balloon is too much. In fact, mass balloon release should be banned in Singapore. Releasing balloon in the air is like littering. If there is a $1000 fine for littering, why should we allow people to openly release 500 balloons in the air?
It’s very disheartening to see people doing mass balloon release in Singapore without researching on the impact that it might cause. Perhaps more education is required. Please, help spread the message. Stop mass balloon release in Singapore.