Colorful balloons soaring in the sky may be fun and festive, but their unclaimed latex remnants are anything but. In an effort to protect wildlife from the dangers of these used inflatables and their plastic elements, the council of Onkaparinga, Australia, has decided to ban balloons at all of its events.
The Council’s decision was inspired after noting the great number of deflated helium balloons found across the area after community events, News.com.au reports. Sadly, these once celebratory items are a very real threat to animals, including birds and marine species.
The Council will also encourage people who are using council land for events, like weddings, to reconsider making helium balloons a part of the celebrations. “When people apply for a permit to use a reserve for a party or wedding, we provide them with information about the environmental issues balloons can cause and a range of alternatives to balloons that can be used,” Philomena Taylor, Onkaparinga Council community relations director, explained.
Balloon littler is subject to a $210 fine under the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act from 2016. Environmental groups have welcomed the move but believe that the ban should be extended to all council reserves and be in effect at all times.
According to CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,) balloons, plastic bags, and bottles are the three most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife. Plastic waste not only pollutes animals’ natural habitat, many animals mistake it for food and end up with serious intestinal issues as a result. Currently, already 700 marine species are threatened with extinction because of plastic pollution in the oceans – this is something we are all responsible for and can all help to change.
To find out how you can help the oceans by making conscious choices when it comes to plastic consumption, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Image source: Artturi_Mantysaari/Pixabay