Palawan, an archipelagic province in the western Philippines known for its lagoons and coral reefs, is the proposed location of a Nickelodeon theme park.
SpongeBob Squarepants live in a pineapple under the sea, but environemntalists in the Philippines are fighting to keep the beloved cartoon from their oceans.
On Monday, Viacom International, Nickelodeon’s parent company, announced its first cooperation with the Coral World Park, Undersea Resorts, Inc., for the development of the submarine attraction in Palawan– an archipelagic province in the western Philippines in the Mimaropa region.
But as soon as the project for the nearly 1,000-acre theme park was announced, environmentalists raised alarm, indicating Palawan pristine beaches and coral reefs can be compromised by extensive development, reports CNN.
HUGE NICKELODEON THEME PARK COMPLEX PLANNED FOR THE NEW JERSEY
The theme park, slated to open in 2020, would feature a variety of attractions based on Viacom property, including “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Dora the Explorer.”
According to a press release, the park is situated in the middle of a cluster of 16 white-sand islands of the Coral World Park (CWP) providing visitors with a multi-island experience accessible with a speedboat. The theme park would also be a hidden lagoons, hot springs, an animal reserve and the world-class scuba diving among shipwrecks. The resort would also feature a hotel, several restaurants and lounges located 20 feet below sea level.
The companies also claim that once complete, CWP will be the biggest coral reef conservation program in Asia, as the characters in the park, “lawyer of the ocean protection.”
But environmentalists have denounced Viacom’s plans and call for an immediate halt to the project.
On Wednesday, Regina Lopez, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that they would not allow the underwater amusement park to go forward.
Lopez says that she will not allow the underwater theme park in Palawan. #environment2017
— DENR (@DENR_Official) January 11, 2017
Criticism of the park continue to escalate between conservation groups, Wednesday. A petition made by the co-founder of Save Philippine Seas, Anna Oposa, urges people to say no to the underwater amusement park in Palawan and had already received more than 150,000 signatures by Wednesday morning.
“Palawan, specifically Coron is a beautiful place. I think it would be embarrassing if there is a theme park built. #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom.”
“By the construction of artificial structures, you will undoubtedly cause damage and disruption of Palawan’s marine ecosystems — our Last Frontier,” Oposa said. “For a channel that is targeted to children, Nickelodeon is setting a terrible example to the younger generation by taking away their right to enjoy our natural resources,” said Oposa.
FOR THE LATEST TRAVEL FEATURES FOLLOW FOX LIFESTYLE ON FACEBOOK
A letter to the president of Coral World Park, Undersea Resorts, Inc. is sent, together with the signatures of people who support the campaign, with the demand for a dialogue about the problems, according to the petition.
Dozens of social media posts also echo Oposa position.
Palawan, specifically Coron is a beautiful place. I think it would be embarrassing if there is a theme park built. #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom
— Gil Cuerva (@gilcuerva) January 11, 2017
Yes. The underwater park planned by Nickelodeon has reached us on the DOT. To be honest, Coron is already beautiful in its natural state.
— Kat De Castro (@KatDeCastro) January 11, 2017
I like Nickelodeon, but NOT on the under-water amusement park in Palawan.#CoronIsNotBikiniBottom
— Mia Villanueva (@miavnueva) January 11, 2017
The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development said that the project had yet to be approved. Palawan Governor Pepito Alvarez told CNN that “his office has not received an application from the theme park.”