Pumped for ban on bal­loons

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - Jes­sica Nico

BAL­LOONS at par­ties and com­mu­nity events could be­come a thing of the past if a South Fre­man­tle res­i­dent’s fight to ban them is suc­cess­ful.

Lisa Hills has joined two other Aus­tralian women in pe­ti­tion­ing the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to not only ban the mass re­lease of bal­loons, but also stop the use of he­lium to fill them, saying they posed too much of a health is­sue to wildlife, and even hu­mans, to con­tinue unchecked.

Pick­ing up pieces of popped bal­loons al­most ev­ery time she goes out for a walk, Ms Hills said she felt her creation of the Boy­cott Bal­loons Fre­man­tle Face­book page was jus­ti­fied when the pub­lic be­gan get­ting be­hind it.

“Once peo­ple started to hear about it, I started to re­alise how big a prob­lem this is­sue was,” she said.

“I was be­ing sent ar­ti­cles of an­i­mals that had died due to in­ges­tion of a bal­loon, bal­loon clip or en­tan­gle­ment from the rib­bon.

“Es­caped bal­loons eas­ily end up in the ocean once they burst and when the bal­loon is in­gested by a sea crea­ture and comes into con­tact with the stom­ach acids it quickly turns into a sticky, gooey mess, which causes in­testi­nal block­age and re­sults in star­va­tion and a slow, painful death.”

“There are many op­tions to use in­stead of bal­loons that are friendly to the en­vi­ron­ment and wildlife, such as bunting, flags, ban­ners or bub­bles, or if you are plan­ning to re­lease bal­loons in the mem­ory of a loved one, plant a tree or place na­tive flow­ers in the ocean.”

Not just an en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sue, Ms Hills said there could be un­fore­seen health ef­fects for peo­ple as well.

With only a small sup­ply of he­lium on Earth, and with the gas used in im­por­tant med­i­cal equip­ment such as MRI ma­chines, as well as sci­en­tific re­search, she said there were more im­por­tant ways the in­creas­ingly rare el­e­ment could be used.

Local gov­ern­ments are al­ready get­ting be­hind the ini­tia­tive, with the Town of Cottes­loe ban­ning the use of bal­loons at coun­cil events and de­cid­ing in April that they would pro­duce a re­port on the po­ten­tial for a by-law to pro­hibit bal­loons by Oc­to­ber.

Visit Boy­cott Bal­loons Fre­man­tle on Face­book to re­quest a pe­ti­tion sig­na­ture sheet.

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d456748

Lisa Hills, who is push­ing for a ban on the mass re­lease of bal­loons for health and en­vi­ron­men­tal rea­sons, with her dog Moomin.

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