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.
Once released, helium balloons can drift for hundreds of kilometres before descending, or bursting, to produce many fragments that also descend. Often these end up in the ocean. Marine animals can mistake them for food and swallow them or become entangled in the attached ribbon. Such encounters can lead to loss of limbs, drowning or starvation for turtles, seabirds, whales, dolphins, and dugongs.
At a recent Senate inquiry into marine debris Dr Kathy Townsend from the University of Queensland explained that balloons are attractive to seabirds and turtles because they look similar to squid and jellyfish. Intact balloons have been found in the intestines of marine fauna. Balloons are not digested and can block the intestines.