Balloons face pin-pulling

The Town�s Community Environmental Working Group (CEWG) has asked the council to formalise its position on balloon releases and recommended they no longer happen at events it organises following concerns that balloon litter could have a negative impact on the environment and wildlife.

In New South Wales, legislation prohibits the practice, while a similar local law exists at Queensland�s Sunshine Coast Council.

Four people complained to the Town when it promoted a balloon release as part of its Walk Together community event last year and the alternative symbolic gesture of releasing doves was chosen, representing a $690 saving.

A survey by the CEWG found 71 people to 14 felt the Town should not release balloons at its events, while 70 people to 15 agreed the Town should not allow other parties to release balloons.

�It has been documented by wildlife protection and conservation organisations around the world that many marine and terrestrial animals have been injured or killed as a result of balloons,� a report to council said.

�Even if balloons are marked as degradable, they may take a number of weeks to degrade, whereas it could take only seconds for an animal to swallow a balloon or fragment.�

A published study showed latex balloons were still in the environment after six weeks exposure.

Balloons with a ribbon or on a plastic stick would still be allowed.

Victoria Park councillors will consider the matter at the town�s meeting from 6.30 tonight.