Campaigner wants balloons up and away
LISA Hills is on a mission to see the end of latex balloons.
The South Fremantle resident said it all began when she was walking her dog on South Beach and found remnants of balloons on the beach.
“I passed a local store which used balloons to attract customers but I noticed the remnants in the roadway, washed on the road and into the drains,” she said.
“I continued to pick up balloon particles when a council worker told me that the balloons in the storm drains would be emptied into the ocean directly across the road at the beach.
“I spoke to Fremantle Council and they said I needed to raise community awareness and that’s when I formed Boycott Balloons Fremantle.”
At a council meeting last month, the Mayor and the councillors voted to begin a review to consider a provision for the City to control the use and release of gas-filled balloons in public places, reserves, City-managed venues and beaches under the control of local government.
Miss Hills said her overall goal was to see an end to latex balloons.
“I am concentrating on seeing an amendment made to the Littering Act that states that when a balloon is released it becomes litter,” she said.
“You can be fined for littering by throwing a single cigarette butt on to the ground but you can release hundreds of balloons and that’s perfectly acceptable.”
Miss Hills, who is a veterinary nurse at Perth Zoo, said she knew the effect marine debris was having on animals after seeing the plastic removed from the intestinal tract of a juvenile green sea turtle found in Shoalwater last year.
“Last year the Town of Cottesloe had a local law approved to ban the release of helium balloons on the council land,” she said to show there had been some success in her campaign.
“It’s been difficult getting the message across that balloons are not environmentally friendly as they are falsely marketed to be.
“Chemicals are added to balloons to stop them from breaking down, so they just break down over years into smaller bits of rubber; they don’t go away.”
Miss Hills has been in communication with the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board, which is working towards educating the public on memorial balloon releases. Leah Roberts