Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu today lauded the decision of various establishments in the country, including Okada Manila, for dropping their “balloon drop or release” activities to highlight their New Year’s eve celebrations.

“It is, indeed, laudable on the part of the various establishments to voluntarily cancel their “balloon drop or release” activities in the name of environmental protection,” Cimatu said upon learning that Okada Manila has cancelled its world record attempt for the largest number of balloons dropped which was originally scheduled for New Year's eve.

At the same time, the DENR chief called on the public to refrain from lighting firecrackers and pyrotechnics in their houses, and instead enjoy the fireworks display in their respective communities, to reduce air pollution generated by these activities.

Air pollution impacts not only on the environment, but also on the health of the people, particularly on our children and our senior citizens, Cimatu said.

Cimatu said Okada’s decision to finally cancel its attempt at a world-record sets a precedent that is worth emulating not only by other establishments in this country, but also in other parts of the world.

Aside from Okada, other establishments reported to have cancelled their “balloon drop/release” events include The Peninsula Manila; Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Manila; Venue 88 in General Santos City; and Davao Bamboo Sanctuary and Ecological Park.

In their respective websites/FBs, said establishments announced the cancellation of their balloon drop/release in support of DENR’s environmental protection programs.

“It is with much gratitude that they listened not only to our request, but also to the call of our people, to be mindful of the impact of their activities on the environment,” Cimatu said. “Now, more than ever, I am convinced that this nation has become truly conscious and protective of our environment.”

In his new year’s message, Cimatu greeted every Filipino with a “Happy Environmental New Year,” as he thanked every one for their support for a better, environment-friendly Philippines. ###