Australia-wide ban on the release of balloons and the use of helium to inflate balloons.
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Goal: An Australia-wide ban on the release of balloons and the use of helium to inflate balloons.
Problem: Released balloons always come back to Earth as litter.
* When mistaken as food, balloons can slowly kill wildlife through digestive blockage, strangulation and choking. Affected wildlife includes marine animals such as shearwaters and turtles, as well as freshwater such as platypus. Farm animals can also be affected.
* Many marine wildlife research scientists support a ban on the release of balloons, as do organisations involved with litter and marine protection, such as Boomerang Alliance, Tangaroa Blue, Lord Howe Island Museum, Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre and the Australian Platypus Conservancy.
* Marine Plastic Pollution is increased with balloon releases.
* Balloons are no longer made from natural latex but a synthetic. While the industry claims balloons biodegrade in the same time as “an oak leaf”, this can take many months or years, all the while posing a threat to wildlife. Non-biodegradable attached streamers and disks add to the litter and threat.
* Mylar balloons do not biodegrade; they can cause power outages and spark fires.
* Sky lanterns are already banned nationally.
* Helium is a scarce, non-renewable gas, vital to important scientific, medical and industrial uses and should not be wasted on frivolous activities such as releasing balloons for commemorative or celebratory reasons, nor for promotional reasons.
* Inhaling helium has caused many humans deaths.
* Helium balloons, especially large bunches, are also a potential threat to aircraft.
* Helium balloons can travel long distances, across council and state borders, creating litter hundreds of kilometres from the release site, hence a unified approach across the nation is required.
* Banning the release of balloons will aid Waste Reduction Targets.
* Agencies already spend a great deal of time and effort attempting to educate people about the environmental impacts of released balloons. Despite this and a variety of anti-litter and anti-balloon release laws across Australia, releases still occur.
* The use of helium enables the accidental release of balloons. With easy access to helium and helium balloons now ubiquitous at events and festivals, this is all too common.
Just one released balloon will result in litter and pose a threat to wildlife.
* Alternatives to balloon releases include reusable banners, flags, ribbon dancers, or pinwheels. For memorials and fundraisers: plant trees or gardens, actions that promote life.
* There is a global movement against the release of balloons due to their environmental impact (see BalloonsBlow. org).
Australia could lead the way and be the first to nationally ban helium balloons.
Solution: The Federal Government unites the States and Territories of Australia for a national ban on the release of balloons and the use of helium to inflate balloons for non-scientific uses.
Personal: As a regular litter collector for over 30 years on beaches with no urban or stormwater run-off, I am all too aware of the increasing prevalence of marine litter, including balloons, either whole, burst or remnant, many with attached streamers and disks.
If the number of balloons I collect from one small section of beach is replicated around the country, there is a very serious problem with balloon pollution. This problem could be
easily solved with a simple national ban on the release of balloons and the use of helium to inflate balloons by the Australian Government.
Although a formal, hard copy petition has been presented to the Federal House of Representatives, this same petition is directed to the Federal Minister for the Environment and all State and Territory Ministers for Environment.
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