Environmentalists to Nickelodeon: Palawan theme park will cause 'grave and irreparable' damage

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Environment groups on Monday petitioned children's network Nickelodeon to stop plans for a supposed undersea attraction in Coron, Palawan.

In their letter to Nickelodeon, Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines and Save the Philippine Seas said the park would endanger the marine and terrestrial ecosystem of Coron.

"We are alarmed that your brand is associated with a project that threatens to deprive future generations one of the wonders of nature," the letter read.

Coron is known as the country's last ecological frontier. The groups described the Palawan province as "a land filled with beautiful beaches, amazing coral reefs, and wonderful wilderness areas."

"The Coral World Park Attraction that bears the Nickelodeon brand threatens to inflict grave and irreparable injury to the Coron ecosystem," they said.

 

Nickelodeon has not yet responded to the letter.

Developer: Theme park is land-based, not underwater

But last week, the attraction's developer, Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc. denied reports that it is building an underwater theme park.

The group confirmed it is planning to build a resort and attraction in the area, but the "undersea-themed" property will be built on land.

It clarified that the only structure to be built at sea will be floating on water.

"It is important to note CWP is not only a masterplanned development that will help create jobs for locals, but will help provide the necessary funding to ensure on-going protection of the area," Coral World said.

According to Greenpeace, they met with the chairman of Coral World Park Undersea Resorts last Thursday.

But Greenpeace said Coral World has yet to present its masterplan to them.

'Conservation program'

Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said even if the proposed property would be built on land, it remains a threat to the environment.

"Yung 400 hectares malaki pinsala niyan sa ecosystem," he said.

[Translation: "The 400-hectare property will inflict great damage to the ecosystem.]"

Coral World said the proposed resort will focus on conservation tourism and will become the largest coral reef conservation program in Asia.

RELATED: Developer: Nickelodeon resort in Palawan will be on land

The company said it will secure all necessary permits from the government before it proceeds with construction. It is slated to be finished by 2020.

The Environment Department, however, announced it will not allow an underwater park in Coron if it's found to threaten the ecosystem.

"If the underwater theme park would cause the destruction of corals, right away, I will say no way...I will never allow our biodiversity to be killed for money that some people want to make," Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said in a statement.

Greenpeace already sent Nickelodeon a copy of the online petition denouncing the proposed theme park.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 200,000 people have signed the petition.

Viacom's announcement

Outrage among environmentalists and netizens was sparked by an earlier announcement by Viacom International Media Networks, Nickelodeon's parent company.

Its official statement said the Nickelodeon attraction will be part of Coral World Park, a 400-hectare undersea property.

Viacom said it will be a "100-hectare undersea attraction and resort, which will be inspired by some of Nickelodeon's most iconic properties like Spongebob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dora the Explorer."

The property will aslo include "underwater restaurants and lounges, which will be located about 20 feet below sea level with vivid views of the world beneath the ocean."

READ: Palawan officials: No application for Nickelodeon underwater theme park in Coron

CNN Philippines' Ivy Saunar contributed to this report.