What goes up must come down – Balloons in the Ocean

What goes up must come down – Balloons in the Ocean
What goes up must come down – Balloons in the Ocean

A TURTLE and the contents of its stomach greeted attendees of the free screening of the film Rubber Jellyfish at Naragebup on Tuesday night.

Next to the picture of a green turtle named Tina were nine jars each holding plastic, bits of balloon, fishing line and other unidentifiable plastic debris that was in Tina’s digestive tract.

Taken to the centre for recovery and care, unfortunately she died from the effects of the plastic waste inside her.

To the surprise of many that attended, Tina was a local, found washed up sick on a Shoalwater beach.

It set the tone for the film that showed just how pervasive balloon waste is and how it invariably seems to end up in the oceans where turtles mistake it for their natural food source: jellyfish.

The film was created by mum Carly Wilson who, when pregnant a few years ago, started to wonder and be concerned about what type of world would be left for the next generation: her daughter.

In her documentary, she spoke to people on all sides of the debate.

She questioned research that the balloon industry cites from the 1989 Burchette study claiming that latex balloons are biodegradable.

The study has never been published

She discovers it is a partial truth, as latex reacts differently in sea water, causing the balloons to actually last longer than they do on land.

Rockingham councillors Andy Burns and Joy Stewart hosted the screening with help from vet nurse and founder of Boycott Balloons Fremantle, Lisa Hills.

Cr Burns said the issue concerned him and wanted to help raise awareness with residents.

“We’ve done this ourselves; it is not supported or on behalf of the City of Rockingham,” he said.

“It’s something I am passionate about because I see the damage it’s doing.

“I thought it was timely to do this, with the City’s proposed ban on single-use plastics and balloons still being up for public submissions.”

Ms Hills said it was the first free screening of the film in WA.

Cr Burns said if residents would like to have their say about the policy, they could do so by visiting http://rockingham.wa.gov.au/Our-city/Share-your-thoughts/Proposed-Council-Policy-Single-Use-Plastic-and-Bal before Wednesday, April 17.