Subject: Info: NSW: MP calls for ban on balloon release

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Tue, 10 Sep 1996 14:01:45 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 96 11:34:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: NSW: MP calls for ban on ballo

NSW: MP calls for ban on balloon releases

   By Judy Friend of AAP
   SYDNEY, Sept 9 AAP - Mass-releases of balloons at major sporting
events including football grand finals and the Olympic Games could
be banned under legislation proposed by a New South Wales MP.
   Opposition land and water conservation spokesman Don Page today
called for the practice to be outlawed, saying it was causing an
environmental disaster in the waterways.
   Mr Page said as many as 20,000 balloons could be released at a
major event and when these came down they were often fatal to
seabirds and a miriad of other marine creatures including dolphins,
whales and turtles.
   He said the burst balloons often ended up in the mouths,
intestinal tracts and stomachs of sea creatures, causing a slow and
painful death.
   Mr Page said he would consider introducing legislation
preventing the mass release of balloons when parliament resumed
next week for the spring session.
   He said his proposed laws would target amendments to the Clean
Waters Act to specifically prohibit the practice.
   "I don't want to be a killjoy but the reality is ... balloons
can find their way into the mouths of sea creatures," he said.
   "Maybe the solution is to ban the mass release of balloons
altogether and to insist that balloons be kept on a lead and not
released into the air."
   Under current laws, event organisers need no more than a local
council permit to release balloons, with unauthorised release
attracting a $200 fine.
   Mr Page said his proposal was backed by the Environmental
Protection Authority (EPA) which had highlighted the dangers of
plastics pollution of waterways as early as 1991.
   According to an EPA report, 69 out of 280 species of sea birds
in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans were known to be consumers of
plastic waste.
   The report said plastic had also been found in the oesophagus
and intestines of stranded whales and dolphins, while turtles often
choked to death on plastic bags after confusing them with jelly
fish.
   "More disturbing still, once the animal dies and decays, the
plastic is free to repeat the cycle," the report said.