Legazpi City, [08.16.17] – After a meeting with Bureau of Fire Protection Legazpi City, the Legazpi City Weekend Market was forced to cancel Thursday the Wave Your Wish event, where 200 to 250 aerial luminaries commonly known as sky lanterns were expected to be released at Dap-Dap village in Legazpi City.
In a statement released through social media, the Weekend Market organizers said that the erratic wind condition may cause fire in nearby residential and business areas and maintained that the materials they were supposed to use were biodegradable.
“In line with the non-issuance of clearance by the BFP Legazpi due to their opinion that it ‘constitutes open burning,’ we have decided to cancel the said activity,” the organizers of the Wave Your Wish event said.
“Although the sky lantern is made of biodegradable material and can be lighted safely, due to the erratic wind condition, it can pose a threat which we don’t like to happen as we prioritize everybody’s safety above all.”
Rodne Galicha, country manager of The Climate Reality Project, lauded the cancellation of the event, which he said may be a violation of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, but said he was disappointed that the Legazpi City government failed to mention environmental reasons.
Galicha started a petition online through Bataris, Greenpeace Philippines’ online petition platform. The petition has since gathered 760 online signatures.
“This is a good move. We laud the city of Legazpi for cancelling the lighted sky lanterns release due to fire hazards,” Galicha said. “Be that as it may, it would have been no let to also consider environmental reasons as provided for by existing environmental laws and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bicol statement, which fell on deaf ears.”
Galicha also urged the local government of Albay to include the banning of the release of aerial luminaries in any event.
Concerned netizens also praised Legazpi City for cancelling the event and avoiding man-made fire.
“I think our government should start rethinking its programs and align them to environmental standards. Regarding their defense of the materials being biodegradable, it should be basic what biodegradable means, otherwise our government should be open to learn about keeping our environment safe,” Kimberly B. Ante, a netizen, said.