THE City of Cockburn could soon follow the Town of Cottesloe’s example and ban the release of helium balloons.
The City has formed a working group to consider a similar ban to that introduced in Cottesloe last September, as well as ways single use plastics like bottles, straws, cutlery, cups, packaging and bags can be reduced.
Cockburn waste education officer Nicki Ledger said their Sustainable Event Guidelines did not allow balloons to be given away or released at City-run events, but it was a rule they could not enforced as it was not a local law.
“The use and release of balloons within the City of Cockburn is an issue of growing concern to the local community,” she said.
“Litter clean up at local events have demonstrated that discarded balloons are a significant problem-balloons, string and ribbon released into the natural environment cause unsightly litter and pose ingestion and entanglement risks to local wildlife.
“The City feels it is important to facilitate a conversation around this issue as it is a big problem which will require commitment from the whole community to make a difference.”
Boycott Balloons Fremantle founder Lisa Hills has been campaigning to see the end of latex balloons for years.
A veterinary nurse at Perth Zoo and a volunteer for WA Seabird Rescue and ORRCA Marine Mammal Rescue, Ms Hills said she had seen first hand the damage balloons could do to wildlife and marine life.
She said she had spoken to a City of Cockburn representative about the ban earlier this year and was heartened to see another council moving on the issue.
“Some of the worst places I know local to me for balloon litter are Manning Park, Bibra Lake and Woodman Point,” she said.
“I think it’s fantastic that Cockburn is taking the initiative to ban balloons, we all know about the ever-increasing concerns with marine debris and I feel the time has now come that we all need to act and make changes wherever possible to remove single use items from our lives and look for environmentally friendly alternatives.
Residents can have their say on the issue at comment.cockburn.wa.gov.au/plastics-how-can-we-reduce-them before September 28.
A community chat will also be held at the Last Droop Beeliar on September 19 from 6pm to 7.15pm.
To RSVP email firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the City of Cockburn considers ways single use plastic can be reduced, the Town of Bassendean and City of Bayswater have already introduced a law calling for their limit at events.
Bassendean senior economic development officer William Barry said they had seen greater awareness across the board and a noticeable reduction in single use plastic since the law’s introduction in March.
“Stallholders have gone to varying levels of adapting and implementing change,” he said.
“Some now use all compostable and biodegradable containers and cutlery, another has moved to only paper packaging their products and encouraging customers to bring their own bags and containers and others have withdrawn drinking straws and use paper napkins.
“The six month transition period is now coming to an end and the expectation will then be that vendors will be single use plastic free.”
Bayswater mayor Dan Bull said changes won’t happen over night but agreed they had noticed a “significant decrease” in single use plastics at events.
“The introduction of water tanks at the City’s larger events has been particularly successful,” he said.
“We offer reusable cups that are washed throughout the event, limiting the need for single use water bottles.
“The community have been really supportive of this and have been more than happy to bring along their own water bottles rather than buying single-use bottles.”