OK Queenslanders, here is a big one. In an effort to get balloons on the election agenda, and into legislation for plastic pollution reduction, we’d like everyone to please send an email or letter to your local State Government representative. Below is a draft letter that you can copy, paste and edit (or feel free to write your own) and here are the contact details for QLD Members of Parliament – just make sure you include your name and address on your letter to show that you are a local constituent.
I am writing to show my support for the Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan being developed by Queensland, to include No Balloon Release Australia’s proposal to ban the release of balloons and to also ban the sale and use of helium to inflate balloons.
Balloon litter is regularly collected in marine debris collections, and attached streamers and clips magnify the problem. Forty balloons were recently collected from three kilometres of beach in Daintree National Park in a Tangaroa Blue clean-up. This beach is cleaned very 3 months.
Of the estimated 22,504 balloons entered into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) database between 2013-2016, 6,728 were collected on Queensland beaches.(http://www.tangaroablue.org)
The impact of balloons on the environment is no longer questioned. Balloons are recognised as one of the three top threats to marine wildlife, and were mentioned in the Draft Threat Abatement Plan into marine debris. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-5D4958L10&feature=youtu.be
Balloons are regularly found in turtles, shearwaters, albatrosses and other marine wildlife. http://www.acap.aq/…/2696-the-last-straw-two-southern-ocean...
Proponents of balloons use the argument that latex balloons are biodegradable, however this process can take years therefore balloons will continue to exist as litter and remain a threat to wildlife.(https://balloonsblow.org/latex-balloons-still-kill/). While most balloons may be made of latex, the chemicals added for longevity and colour make them more like plastic as far as longevity and toxicity in the environment is concerned. Mylar balloons will never degrade, just break up.
If balloons were truly biodegradable, then balloons wouldn’t be collected during clean-ups, nor would they be found ingested or entangled in dead wildlife.
The use of string as an “environmentally friendly” alternative to streamers still presents a problem as it can entangle seabirds and other animals and take years to break up.
No part of a balloon release is “environmentally friendly”.
Helium balloons are a global concern, as balloons can travel vast distances, across state and national borders (http://www.tangaroablue.org/amdi/campaigns/61-promotional-balloons/763-balloons-blow-nsw-to-lhi.html).
A ban on the supply of helium to inflate balloons will stop deliberate and accidental balloon releases, i.e. remove the source of the problem.
Banning the release of helium filled balloons should not be seen as impinging on people’s pleasure, as the the act of releasing a balloon lasts a few seconds yet this act of littering impacts on the environment and wildlife much longer. Banning the release of balloons should be seen as environmentally sensible protection to improve the condition of our oceans and waterways which are under intense pressure from plastic pollution.
This plastic pollution accumulates all along the food chain.
Releasing balloons should be specifically listed as a liable littering offence.
There are many alternatives to balloon releases, such a bubbles, banners and tree planting.
Please, can you ensure there is a plastic pollution reduction policy commitment before the upcoming election to:
- Ban the release of balloons, and
- Ban the sale and use of helium to inflate balloons?
Your Name and Signature