Balloon Releases

Promotional-Balloons-IntroWhat goes up must come down, and balloons are a really good example of items that can travel long distances from their original location and many find their way into the oceans where they have been found to be a threat to marine life and seabirds through entanglement and ingestion.

There are many ways that businesses can market their products that don't have the potential to kill or injure marine life, but in many instances the impact isn't thought of when the decision is made to use promotional balloons.

These balloons were all found in the Daintree National Park beaches after they had landed in the Great Barrier Reef and washed up. All companies have been contacted and made aware of this issue, and asked to review their company policy on promotional activities and balloons.

If you find a promotional balloon, please send us a photo of the item and let us know when and where you found it. Also consider using our Balloon Release Action Guide to notify the company of where you found it, and more environmentally alternatives they could use for promoting their business.

If you are a business using promotional balloons check out these alternatives.

Balloons Blow NSW to LHI

Balloons on LHIArticle by: Karen Joynes from No Balloon Release Australia.

A bunch of four helium-filled balloons was released from an event in Western Sydney in early July. By August 2nd, they had travelled 800 kilometres to litter a beach at Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage Area.

Three weeks later, No Balloon Release Australia has had no response from representations made to the NSW EPA or from NSW and Federal Ministers for the Environment.

No Balloon Release Australia was conceived in 2016 to promote a petition for a national ban on the release of balloons and the use of helium to inflate balloons. It connects the many individuals and groups around the country advocating for no helium balloon releases.

The environmental impact of balloons is no longer doubted. They are considered one of three major threats to marine wildlife by CSIRO, and were mentioned in the Draft Threat Abatement Plan into the impact of marine debris on vertebrate marine life (TAP).

The formal petition, presented to the House of Representatives earlier this year, elicited a less than satisfactory response from Minister Frydenberg. He referred to the TAP and refocusing anti-litter campaigns but did not address the petition’s request.

The same petition on Change.org has nearly 7,000 signatures, yet there has been no further response.


Cottesloe does its bit for sea creatures

Cott does its bitFrom The Post - May 27th, 2017

Cottesloe councillors were nice to turtles on World Turtle Day on Tuesday.

They voted unanimously to ask for public submissions on amending a council law to ban the use of balloons, and smoking on the beach.

Councillor Sandy Boulter took to the meeting a big contianer of rubbish she had picked up during her walks on the dog beach near North Street.

"I know you might be disgusted," Ms Boulter said, as she flourished a perished plastic bag.

"This looks like a jellyfish. There's an osprey diving there. We have to protect [animals]."

Earlier Perth zoo vet nurse Lisa Hills, vet Erin Young and Conservation Council directory Piers Verstegen urged councillors to proceed with the balloon ban.

"Today is World Turtle Day," Ms Hills said. "Please take that into consideration."

Some people in the public gallery gasped when Dr Young showed photos of what plastic litter did to animals.

"We need to stop treating [the oceans] like a rubbish dump," she said. 

She said she had once had to put down a sea turtle with severe internal injures from plastic litter.

Have your say!

Balloons 2Many people and businesses are starting to do the right thing when it comes to balloons, including some city councils that are banning helium balloons at events. The balloons in the photo here were found on a beach in Tomakin, NSW. The Eurobodalla Shire Council has taken steps to ban the release of helium balloons at Council events and in council-managed reserves (see article below). We congratulate them on taking an important step and hope they will lead other local governments to do the same.


Bega Valley Shire bans balloon releases at Council events and on Council reserves

Balloon KarenOn Wednesday 15 March, Bega Valley Shire Council took up Eurobodalla’s challenge and banned the release of balloons at Council events and on Council reserves on a Mayoral recommendation.

Last year, Council adopted a policy of education about the impact of released balloons, but since then, there has been a lot more information about the impact of released balloons. Mayor Kristy McBain was interested in taking up Eurobodalla’s challenge but The Zoos Victoria’s #bubblesnotballoons was the clincher, and the Mayoral recommendation came soon afterwards.


When balloons fly…

When balloons flyWhen we think of marking a special occasion we often think of using balloons. But not many people are aware of the impact that balloons (and attachments such as ribbon and plastic ties) can have when they enter the environment.

Reserch has found that balloons are in the top three most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife for both entanglement and ingestion.

The impact balloon litter can have has been well documented in the Flesh-footed Shearwaters on the remote Lord Howe Island. During annual surveys of the colony, balloons and their attachments are one of the most readily identifiable items found inside the stomachs of both adults and chicks. Chicks are mistakenly fed the litter by their parents and can be left too weak to leave the nest. The decline in shearwater numbers on the island is directly linked to the ingestion of this marine debris, with a warning that many seabirds could be facing a similar fate.

Zoos Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Parks have launched “When balloons fly”, alongside researchers at Lord Howe Island, to highlight the impact of balloons on seabirds and other wildlife and call on Australians to make a switch to bubbles at their outdoor events.

You can be part of the solution. Visit zoo.org.au/balloons and join the growing list of people making a promise to make outdoor events wildlife friendly.

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