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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.

Eurobodalla Council passes balloon release ban

 

201702 EurbodallaEurobodalla Shire Council has risen to the occasion in minimising the environmental impacts of balloons by banning their release at council events and in council-managed reserves.

Mayor Liz Innes put forward the recommendation to council in a Mayoral Minute at today’s meeting.

Approximately 95 per cent of released balloons burst in the atmosphere and litter small pieces of plastic to the earth. The remaining five per cent do not reach a high enough altitude to burst and instead drift hundreds of kilometres before descending to land or sea.

Cr Innes said balloons caused significant harm to the natural environment, including to marine life.

“I congratulate this council for stepping up and defending our environment,” Cr Innes said. “We’re challenging other councils to follow our lead.

“This proactive approach will ensure that Eurobodalla’s Shire’s natural environment, for which the South Coast is renowned, does not contribute to balloon litter here or across the world.”

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Lantern Releases as Dangerous as Balloons

lantern 1 ReneeWhile paper lanterns might be seen as a more environmentally friendly alternative to balloon releases they do still have an environmental cost, as litter in the environment, a hazard for wildlife and a potential fire risk. After finding one which showed evidence of having been alight, while walking in bushland in Meelup Regional Park, Tangaroa Blue team member Renee decided to report her find. She contacted the Meelup Regional Park Committee, the City of Busselton and the Department of Parks and Wildlife (the key stakeholders in the area) to raise her concerns.

Within days the City of Busselton responded, regarding the releasing lanterns at Meelup and elsewhere within the City as a potential bushfire source and litter. The outcome of this being lantern releases are now listed as not permitted in all event approvals in the Meelup Regional Park and elsewhere in the City of Busselton. This will also be followed up by story in the local paper to raise further awareness of the issue.

Balloon Ban Motion Successful

Swanbourne 1Sitting in the Cottesloe Council Chamber on 26 April 2016 listening to the allocated three minute public statements about the hazards of balloons took me back to Kununurra and the day this city mother, nurse and lawyer gutted a crocodile. Back to that later...

When word got out on social media that I had a motion up to ban balloons in Cottesloe, many people emailed me to ask how they could help. “Informed, factual but not too passionate public statements will do it”, I said. And you came!

When I attended a Tangaroa Blue Source Reduction Plan workshop in February, I had little knowledge about balloons being such a polluting hazard. However, my understanding for marine debris grew as I listened. When we made commitments at the end of the workshop, mine was to try to ban balloons in Cottesloe. As Suzuki said, think global, act local.

(Photos: Gunther Jank at Swanbourne Beach)

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Perth Council bans balloons to save wildlife

Ian Hutton BirdOn Tuesday 26th April, Cottesloe Council in WA passed a motion to move forward in creating a report to develop a by-law to prohibit the use of air or helium filled balloons at any events approved by or run by the Town of Cottesloe.

The decision caused controversy amongst the public due to a lack of understanding. Once released into the air, balloons can drift for hundreds of kilometers before descending, or even raise into the stratosphere where they burst and return to earth in a spaghetti-like shape. As “air borne litter”, balloons then end up in the environment, such as in waterways and in the ocean. At a recent Senate Inquiry on marine debris, concern was voiced since balloons were found to have travelled 300 km in less than 24 hours in Western Australia in 2014, reaching the coastline from a location far inland. (Photo courtesy of Ian Hutton).

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Bye bye, balloons

balloons smallYou might have heard about the devastating effect balloons can have in the environment: Air filled balloons can get carried away by the wind and helium balloons sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres. But when they return to earth, marine and terrestrial animals can ingest them and die from clogged intestines. If there was a string attached to the balloon, this might wrap around limbs or necks and slowly strangle its victim. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do something about it? Fact is, that many people responsible for balloon use and releases have no intention to do any harm and are simply unaware of the consequences of their actions.

With our Balloon Release Action Guide we have now made it easier for individuals to raise awareness.

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