No Balloons Please – Our Planet’s Cry!
No Balloons Please – Our Planet’s Cry!
Why this petition matters
Hon'ble Prime Minister,
The petition below this paragraph, was started ahead of the recent Independence Day, as an earnest appeal from many environment-conscious individuals and groups across the country. We pleaded for your urgent intervention to stop the widespread use of balloons in our celebrations. This included the release of tricolour balloons starting from 15th August as a first step, given the adverse impact on our environment. As balloons were seen widely at celebrations across the nation, we continue to humbly petition your decision on easing them out. This can recalibrate the way year-round events are celebrated in our country.
Ahead of our upcoming Independence Day, this is our earnest appeal from many environment-conscious individuals and groups across the country. We seek your urgent intervention to stop the widespread use of balloons, including the release of tricolour balloons in celebrations, given the adverse environmental impact of such practices
While Independence Day holds immense significance for every Indian citizen, the jubilation of this occasion has unintentionally led to the adoption of harmful practices. When these balloons go up each year, no doubt Indians are filled with pride. Yet some feel dismay despite being proud Indians - because of the grave damage to our environment, land and water bodies, impacting birds, animals, marine life. It is ironic that while honouring our motherland, we are polluting her environment.
We strongly believe, as we know you do too, that our love for Mother India should not translate to disrespect for our Mother Earth. At a time when the planet is stressed like never before, every little action of ours counts. Giving up balloons should be a small price to pay for a cleaner, healthier nation – a simple step to nudge individual and collective action for environment preservation of our motherland, also in keeping with your much-needed Mission LIFE programme.
Balloons may look pretty, but it is not widely known that they have disastrous and heart-wrenching effects on the planet and in turn, our own health.
- Pollution: Balloons are non-biodegradable, falling back to ground or seas to pollute land and water bodies, contributing to environment degradation. As fragments break down over time, the soil is contaminated with harmful chemicals, impacting water tables, soil fertility and harming humans through the food chain.
- Death by choking: Balloon pieces have caused deaths of infants who unknowingly swallow them. A tragic incident in the link below begs for urgent action to prevent further deaths by highlighting the critical risk of any child choking on a balloon piece
- Threat to Wildlife and marine ecosystems: Wildlife, both terrestrial and marine, often mistake balloon fragments for food and ingest them or become entangled in the strings, leading to fatalities disrupting the delicate ecological balance.
- Debris and Litter: Post-celebration, remains of balloons are seen everywhere, adding to existing litter problems, marring aesthetics and creating challenges for municipalities.
- Helium wastage: helium is a finite gas with critical uses in medical equipment with no substitute. Squandering it for such non-essential uses is inappropriate and wasteful.
We earnestly request your urgent intervention to address this issue with the following suggested measures to discourage the usage of balloons and protect our environment:
- Urgent announcement and appeal to discontinue the release of balloons across the country starting this August 15th. This will create immediate awareness about the little-known fact that balloons are harmful and set the stage for easing out balloons in schools, apartments, public places and also year-round events, inaugurations and celebrations across the country.
- Awareness building: launch nationwide public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the detrimental effects of balloons on the environment, wildlife, and human health.
- Policy framework & regulatory measures: Follow up with a ban on manufacture, sale or use of balloons – just as there is currently a process underway to ease out single-use plastic, this would be well aligned. Strengthen enforcement in this area.
- Alternatives for eco-friendly celebrations: Encourage sustainable alternatives to balloons – cloth, paper or flower decorations can be reused, recycled or composted (tailor fabric scraps can be diverted to solve a waste issue plus provide alternatives to balloons). Work closely with event organizers to promote earth-friendly ways to mark occasions. Beautiful Bharat #GreenPatriot series has many ideas which can be used freely
- Collaboration with education institutions and civil society: Partner with educational institutions to add environmental education/sustainability in the curriculum, fostering a culture of responsible celebration among students. Invite suggestions from public especially children, which will involve citizens as champions in their areas.
- Cleanup Initiatives: Organize post-celebration cleanup drives with the support of local authorities and community organizations to promptly remove balloon debris from public spaces; this will impart a more real understanding of the problems.
The time has come to reverse the damage with many small steps that can lead to big change. Your mandates on easing out single-use plastic have been acknowledged as a first definite step towards environment consciousness; this could be the next.
Respected Prime Minister, your support in promoting environment-friendly practices starting this Independence Day would undoubtedly resonate with the entire nation and instill a sense of environmental responsibility among our citizens. By making a collective effort to safeguard our environment, we can build a greener and cleaner India for generations to come. Thank you for considering this important matter with urgent decisions that can ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our beloved nation.
Abhi and Niyu
Amulya Boondh Foundation
Bangalore Apartment Federation
Dharti Ke Prahari Foundation
Dr Meenakshi Bharath
Dr Shanthi Tummala
Garbage Free India
Gift Green India
Green Bees Forge Forward
Green India Project
HSR Citizens Forum
I am Gurgaon
Namma Ooru Foundation
NCR Waste Matters
Ripu Daman Bevli
Saahas Zero Waste
Save Tirupur Movement
Slow n Conscious living
Solid Waste Management Round Table
Swachagraha Kalika Kendra
Sustainable International Cities Alliance
The Clean Coorg Initiative
The Indian Ploggers Army
Walk for Plastic
Why Waste Wednesdays Foundation
Zero Waste Mumbai
Beautiful Bharat (earlier Beautiful Bengaluru) is a citizen volunteer group working towards cleaner cities, a Beautiful Bharat and a greener planet.
- Shri Narendra ModiPrime Minister
- Shri Bhupendra YadavUnion Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change