Helium balloons are no longer allowed to be released into the sky at any Council-licensed event on public land or any Council-owned facilities as part of efforts to protect the Tweed's precious marine life and environment.
Helium balloons will no longer be able to be released into the air at Council events or from Council-owned facilities such as parks and sports fields, following a decision by Councillors recently.
A successful notice of motion put forward by Councillor Rhiannon Brinsmead at the 18 August 2022 Council meeting proposed to prohibit the release of helium balloons at Council-licensed events on public land and at Council-owned facilities, effective immediately.
Additionally, it was proposed that from 1 January 2023, Council prohibit the use or supply of all types of balloons, where all, or part of the event, occurs outside at such events and places.
These changes will be accompanied by an education campaign to inform residents about the damage caused by plastic balloons. Balloons pose a significant risk to the environment, animals and marine life (including seabirds and turtles) who ingest balloon debris mistaking it for food, or who can become entangled in balloon strings.
Cr Brinsmead said the ban was about doing what we can as a community to protect the environment.
“Balloons are arguably one of the most damaging and dangerous single-use plastics impacting our environment, especially our beaches, waterways, marine life and sea birds,” Cr Brinsmead said.
“As a Council, we are committed to sustainability and protecting the Tweed’s internationally significant environment. Balloons released into the environment can have devastating effects, like plastic bags, and too many marine animals and seabirds die with remnants of balloons inside them.
“NSW is the only state in Australia where releasing up to 20 helium balloons at a time is still legal which doesn’t make any sense.”
Council’s Director Sustainable Communities and Environment Stewart Brawley welcomed the ban.
“The harm caused by single-use plastics is significant and we need to do all we can as caregivers of our environment to pass onto our next generation,” Mr Brawley said.
“Our community cares about the Tweed environment and I know together we can make this shift in moving away from harmful single-use plastics.
“There are many alternatives to balloons to use for parties, celebrations or memorials, including reusable items like fabric bunting, paper lanterns and garlands or for memorials, plant a native tree or light a candle in their memory.”
This decision follows similar action taken by other councils across Australia who have also banned balloons, including their release.
This ban is in line with the NSW Government’s ban on plastic bags which came into effect on 1 June, and other single-use plastic items from 1 November 2022.
Council’s Commercial Recreation Activities on Public Open Space Policy will be updated to reflect this new change.
For more information on the harmful effect of balloons on the environment, visit cleanup.org.au/balloons.
Photo 1: Balloons in skyCaption: Helium balloons are no longer allowed to be released into the sky at any Council-licensed event on public land or any Council-owned facilities as part of efforts to protect the Tweed's precious marine life and environment.
Connection to Council’s Community Strategic Plan:
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