13 September 2016

"Let's fly sky lanterns" all across Singapore

Organisers of this event on 17 Sep are trying to get as many people as possible to participate. Both in public places -- they say: "Toa Payoh (permission granted) and Tanglin (permission under way)." As well as in private areas like condos.
"The more locations across Singapore we can organize, the more lanterns will brighten our night sky" the organisers say. "We'll provide everything you need to fly the lanterns, including the strings. Imagine if we have few hundred lanterns flying in Singapore night, it will be such a memorable and spectacular way to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival."

"Let's fly sky lanterns to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival" is partly sponsored by Skylights Lanterns SG. The event is also advertised in Singapore Outdoors Meetup.

What could possibly go wrong?

It is reassuring to know that the organisers are aware of the environmental issues
Looking after the environment:

Numerous reports have shown the negative impact of flying sky lanterns "the traditional way". Among them are littering the environment and causing hazard for animals from eating or getting trapped in lantern remains such as wires. Our chosen method of flying sky lanterns leaves no trace in the environment, as our lanterns remain attached to our bodies via a string of 60m/200ft length. This allows us to retrieve the lantern as it burns out, leaving no trace behind and therefore posing no danger to animals. We also pay special attention to leaving the place in a better shape than we have found it.

And that the organisers are also aware of the Singapore regulations, they have included this in their event description.
The regulatory constraints in Singapore: Sky lanterns may be flown if...
- permission by the authorities CAAS, RSAF and SCDF is granted
- the lantern remains attached to your body with a string of no more than 200 feet in length
- no more than 20 lanterns are up at the same time at one given location
- the location is shown in pale yellow in the below map (i.e., not in a dark yellow or pink area, not inside a blue or brown circle)

The organisers did NOT list some of the other strict requirements by SCDF, e.g., tethers must be strong enough to prevent the lanterns from breaking free, and that safety marshallers must be present to supervise and prevent intentional and unintentional release of lanterns.

More background about sky lanterns

Here's the actual SCDF's rules on use of sky lanterns, which are stricter than CAAS rules
a. No free release of sky lantern or lanterns.
b. The lighted sky lantern shall remain tethered at all times.
c. The tethers used must be strong enough to prevent the lantern from breaking free.
d. An organiser is allowed up to 5 batches (i.e. 1 batch equates to 20 numbers of tethered sky lanterns).
e. Safety marshallers are to be present on-site to supervise and prevent the lanterns from being intentionally or inadvertently released into the air.
f. Safety marshallers shall be equipped with fire extinguishers to deal with fire-related contingencies.

Here's the CAAS rules on release of sky lanterns.

Here's some news articles about the impact of lanterns. They kill wildlife and start enormous fires in the UK.

Dead owl found trapped in Chinese lantern
BBC News 24 Oct 2011
An owl has been found dead apparently after becoming tangled up in a Chinese lantern at a Gloucestershire farm.

It was discovered on land at Breadstone near Berkeley on Wednesday. Farmer Simon Pain said he was "shocked" by the discovery of the barn owl, which he believed had been hunting for food near the grass margin of a field.

Spokesman for the National Farmers Union (NFU) Ian Johnson said: "Whilst these lanterns look very pretty there are unforeseen consequences." "We've been warning about about them for some time, certainly in terms of livestock," he added. "Now we can see what a hazard they are to wildlife as well."

Smethwick fire: Chinese lantern 'caused largest blaze'
BBC News, 1 July 2013
A huge fire involving 100,000 tonnes of plastic recycling material, thought to have been sparked by a Chinese lantern, has been contained say firefighters.

Crews described the blaze, which also involved a factory unit, as the largest they had seen in the West Midlands. More than 200 firefighters attended the fire in Smethwick. Three of them have been taken to hospital. The fire, which produced a 6,000ft smoke plume, is said to have caused £6m damage to the Jayplas depot.

Fire chiefs have now called for an "urgent review" into the use of Chinese lanterns.

Chinese Lanterns warning after one sets Dorset nature reserve on fire
Tristan Cork BBC News 27 Apr 2016

Fire chiefs have renewed warnings about Chinese Lanterns, after one landed on a heath in Dorset and sparked a major gorse fire. One firefighter described lighting and releasing Chinese Lanterns as 'basically throwing a naked flame into the sky', and fire brigades across the West have often called for people to stop using them.

No one knows who released a Chinese Lantern on Sunday evening near Wareham in Dorset, but when it landed, it set fire to the gorse on one of Dorset's key nature reserves, Hartland Moor. Fire crews from two towns, Wareham and Swanage, were summoned to put out the blaze, which affected an area more than 130ft across. They used beaters to damp down the flames and a hose reel to get to the seat of the blaze.

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