Article from www.watoday.com.au
Environmentalist Lisa Hills is mounting a one-woman campaign to get the City of Fremantle to ban latex balloons in the port city to protect marine life. Lisa Hills Interview
Ms Hills said she decided to start an online petition because she became alarmed by the handful of balloon particles she was collecting each week from stores near South Beach.
The WA Seabird Rescue volunteer said most people were unaware of the damage the latex balloons posed to the environment and marine animals, which Ms Hills claimed could die as a result of them.
“I know the damage latex balloons can cause to wildlife and the environment,” she said. “Each day I would pass a store near to my home that put up around 50 latex balloons a day. This store is also very close to the ocean.”
“I have tried communicating with this store on many occasions, and Fremantle Council about the issue but nothing has changed so I decided a community petition would be a good place to start.”
The portsider said latex balloons often ended up in the ocean where they were mistaken for a food source by creatures such as sea turtles, dolphins, whales and sea birds.
She said the balloons blocked the intestinal tract, which then caused starvation and a painful death.
“It makes be sad to think of where these balloon particles go when I am not there to pick them up,” she said.
Ms Hill said the petition was less than 48-hours old, but already had close to 200 signatures.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the city didn’t have the power to ban latex balloons.
“The City of Fremantle is keen to reduce waste – and especially waste that ends up in our marine environment,” he said. “We are looking at a broader strategy to do this that could include balloons.”
A number of councils in the UK have banned the release of helium balloons and the Sunshine Coast council in Queensland kyboshed them in 2011.