An environmental group based in the UK city of St Albans has issued a call for balloons to be banned on council land and for local organisations to stop using them at organised events.
Plastic Free St Albans has launched a petition asking Herts County Council to forbid the use of balloons or sky lanterns on its land and has also called on local organisations to stop using balloons at promotional events, highlighting greener alternatives such as flags or bunting.
The group was founded in conjunction with members of St Albans and Harpenden Refuse the Straw, Sustainable St Albans, and St Albans Friends of the Earth and a number of organisations based in St Albans have thrown their backing behind the campaign.
“We find balloons among the litter in the River Ver around St Albans nearly every week and they can be deadly for birds and wildlife,” commented chairman of the Ver Valley Society, John Pritchard. “The society is pleased to support the campaign, it’s an excellent idea and we urge local people who care about their environment to support it.”
Amanda Yorwerth, from St Albans Friends of the Earth, echoed the balloon industry’s overarching message, saying: “By all means use balloons for parties but please make sure that you hold onto the balloons and dispose of them correctly.”
She continued; “This campaign is focused on preventing mass littering events, not spoiling six-year-olds’ birthdays. People get very annoyed about litter on the ground but do not always understand that letting balloons float into the sky is simply another form of littering.”
Plastic Free St Albans is also hosting a screening of the Australian documentary film Rubber Jellyfish to raise awareness of these issues.