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Victoria Officially Bans The Release Of Helium Balloons

Victoria Officially Bans The Release Of Helium Balloons

29th September 2021
By: Olivia - F&F

As a kid, seeing helium balloons float away and up into the sky was such a joy, especially at birthday parties. We’d always wonder where they’d end up… maybe in another country, or perhaps even in outer space! As we get older, we realise that what goes up, must come down — and our marine life is paying the price for our entertaining traditions.

Victoria Bans Helium BalloonsVictoria Bans Helium Balloons

Releasing Helium Balloons Is Illegal In VIC!

Good news! Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to ban the release of balloons into the environment. Under the Environment Protection Act (EPA) of 2017, from the 1st of July 2021, the act became illegal. 

Under the EPA, individuals in Victorians can be hit with a $991 fine for releasing balloons into the environment, and that number increases to $4956 if it’s a company that breaks the law. If a company decides to repeatedly break the law and release balloons into the environment, they’ll be hit with a fine of $82,610 — it’s pretty serious stuff!

This ban also includes so-called ‘biodegradable’ balloons, because the chemicals and dyes present in the balloons will still degrade into smaller pieces and pose a risk to wildlife.

When Balloons Fly Seabirds DieWhen Balloons Fly Seabirds Die

When Balloons Fly, Seabirds Die

Did you know that balloons are the #1 deadliest form of litter when ingested by seabirds? Seabirds are up to 32 times more likely to die when they swallow balloons than any form of hard plastic, according to the CSIRO.

That’s because seabirds, and other marine life, mistake balloon debris for food. If balloons are regularly eaten and ingested by marine life, it can lead to a loss of nutrition, internal injuries, starvation and death. This is bad news for all marine life, but especially when parents accidentally feed the balloon debris to their young. 

According to Libby Hall, Manager of Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital, “We had a turtle come in recently that had four different colours of balloons in its stomach. It had a whole party going on in there,” she said.

Balloons In Sky PollutionBalloons In Sky Pollution

Which Australian States Have Banned Balloons? 

In every other state and territory in Australia, releasing balloons is considered to be littering, however, Victoria is the only state that’s enforced a legal ban on the release of balloons. Under Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics, balloon releases will be banned by the end of 2021!

Other states have penalties in place for the act of littering, with the smallest fine reaching just $173. It’s not good enough — we need to reach a national consensus on helium balloon releases! That’s why lobbying our local government’s to consider the ban is the best way forward.

Blow Bubbles Not BalloonsBlow Bubbles Not Balloons

Blow Bubbles, Not Balloons!

Zoos Victoria is urging all Australians to blow bubbles, not balloons! So far, the campaign has been a huge success. 230,000 people, plus hundreds of schools and organisations have promised to blow bubbles, not balloons at outdoor events.

In a partnership with Zoos Victoria, Phillip Island Nature Parks found that the number of balloons, clips and strings found on the beaches fell by 63% in 2018/2019. How amazing is that?

Is your school, company, council or community ready to go balloon-free? If so, we’d love you to sign the Zoos Victoria petition to go balloon-free. Doing so will send a message to local, state and Federal Government that we want to protect our environment and marine life from plastic pollution. You can also visit balloonsblow.org to check out more ways you can help.

This is awesome news for our marine life! But the job isn’t done yet. We’d love to see a nationwide ban on balloon releases into our environment to protect seabirds and other wildlife. To do this, we need as many people as possible to join the When Balloons Fly, Seabirds Die campaign to create awareness, and hopefully, long-term change.

Interested in more positive eco news? We think you’ll love the blogs below!

Ban On Single-Use Plastics

What Is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Australia To Phase Out Single-Use Plastics By 2025

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