Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Problems with balloon releases.

There's an interesting little story on the BBC this morning: it's all about the concerns being expressed by marine conservationists regarding a popular activity, the mass release of balloons. This is something that my antenna have never noticed as being a problem but it seems that many of these balloons finish up in the marine environment with animals dying from ingesting the balloons. These days a lot of the balloons are filled with the very light gas helium so that even if released well away from the coast they can still come down in the sea. As evidence the BBC cites a balloon from the city of Gloucester being found on a beach in Northumberland! According to the Marine Conservation Society the problems are getting worse year by year. They are hoping that organisers of events that release these balloons will look at alternatives; using air rather than helium to reduce the distance the balloons will travel is one suggestion.

This is an interesting example of the way a seemingly innocuous activity can have a devastating effect on nature. I wonder how many other things we do also have an undesired consequence for wildlife, I bet there are quite a few.

1 comment:

Important Occasions said...

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has called for the ban on mass balloon releases to protect the wildlife who they have found to be killed due to the waste effects of latex balloons. But is a ban the answer, or are the MCS guilty of using shock tactics to increase their profile ?

While they do have a case for the problem, further evidence needs to be produced to find out why sea life are interpreting balloon fragments for food. Would an alternative be to release balloons that degradable within a few days of being released? or remove any plastic fittings or ribbon attachments from the balloon? Another idea is to release balloon colours that do resemble food (No green colours for example).

Whatever the outcome, the Marine conservation society must work with the Balloon Companies and the UK Association (NABAS) to bring the concern to a conclusion. If the MCS succeed with banning balloons, the killjoys may be looking at criticising other businesses for their profile gain. Can MCS ban everything that may cause an accident?

Sarah Rose
Balloon decorator Rugby Nuneaton Coventry Warwick Bedworth Stratford Leamington Kenilworth Birmingham Leicester