Article 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.