Gibraltar To Ban The Release Of Balloons Into The Air To Protect Marine Life

Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

The British territory of Gibraltar has made an important conservation decision in reducing waste by completely banning the release of balloons into the air.

The move is one that is heralded by conservationist as the release of balloons has shown to kill wildlife across the globe and adds to the already extreme problem our society faces today with plastic pollution.

The ban is a follow up to regulations that were introduced in 2016 to reduce balloon waste as part of Gibraltar’s National Day celebration. Prior to the restrictions, each year 30,000 red and white helium-filled balloons were released into the air.

The cancellation of the balloon release received positive international attention as the territory put marine life over a celebration and since then, the government took it to the next step and banned balloon releases all together. Being right on the Mediterranean, Gibraltar is surrounded by waters rich with marine life.

In a statement on Thursday, the Government of Gibraltar said: “This is a measure that ratifies the voluntary decision taken some years ago not to release balloons on National Day, a move that gained great international acclaim. In this way Government wants to reiterate its commitment to clean seas, free of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials which cause so much harm to wildlife.”

All balloons return to the land and sea where they can be mistaken for food and eaten by animals. Sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish and birds have been reported with balloons in their stomachs and ribbons and strings can lead to entanglement, causing death.

Although latex balloons are considered bio-degradable, this will take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years to decompose and they can wreak a lot of havoc before they do.

With this move, we hope that more cities, states and countries across the world will make the same decision. You can immediately start doing your part by petitioning your government to ban the release of balloons and start immediately making a positive change on this planet.

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