Tuesday 27 September 2016

Environmental group welcomes cancellation of 'lethal' charity balloon release

Catherine Devine

Published 06/09/2016 | 07:46

Balloon releases can be
Balloon releases can be "lethal" for the environment

An environmental lobby group has welcomed the cancellation of a charity balloon release which they say is “lethal” to the environment.

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Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have welcomed the cancellation by the Cork Autism Society which was due to have its annual balloon release next weekend.

The environmental group said balloons released into the environment will burst and the fragments can become “lethal marine debris”, a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.

Marian Courtney, the Sales & Marketing Manager, has written to FIE saying that the balloons, which are tied to participant’s wrist during the walk, “will not be released this year but will instead be taken home by the participants”.

FIE Director Tony Lowes said they were “delighted” by the society’s response.

The environmental group has protested balloon launches before.

The balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency was re-arranged at the last minute after FIE’s protest to include a ‘Secure Balloon Release’, and not a ‘general balloon release’.

Lowes stressed that their organisation meant no disrespect for the Cork charity or “the many hard working volunteers who are planning this event. Nor are we seeking to have balloons banned, but rather to join other jurisdictions in having balloons included in the legal definition of litter and making outdoor releases illegal”.

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