Call for balloon ban to save our turtles
WILDLIFE Queensland is calling on the State Government to ban the mass release of helium balloons for the sake of our turtles.
The call comes on the back of the government seeking public comment on a proposal to ban lightweight plastic bags.
Wildlife Queensland campaigner Toby Hutcheon said that what goes up must come down.
"In the case of helium balloons, when they do come down they are burst and fragmented, often with strings attached,” Mr Hutcheon said.
"These burst balloons resemble food sources such as squid and many get eaten by turtles and sea birds, leading to starvation or entanglement and eventually death for these creatures.”
Studies on dead sea turtles between 2006 and 2011 in south-east Queensland found that pelagic turtles had a preference for rubber items, 78% of which were discarded balloons.
"Celebrating important moments by releasing helium balloons that will harm and kill wildlife is just unacceptable,” Mr Hutcheon said.
Dr Jenn Lavers from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies said she found balloons in about one in every 20 sea birds she examined.
New South Wales has had a ban on the mass release of helium balloons since 1999 and the Sunshine Coast since 2011.
The State Government opposes the mass release of balloons at any government-associated event as do many councils in Queensland.
The mass release of balloons is an act of littering under Queensland waste regulations.
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