Balloons are killing our seabirds

7 March 2019


Balloons on beach

Washed-up balloons on a beach. Image © Kevin Redgrave.

A new CSIRO and IMAS collaborative study reveals that balloons are the highest risk plastic debris for seabirds.

The report found that one third of all seabirds had ingested marine plastic debris with the leading cause of death being balloons.

Whilst these soft plastics represented about 5 per cent of plastics ingested, they were responsible for 40 per cent of mortalities.

Releasing helium balloons is a littering offence in Queensland but it is still a common place occurrence.

Despite community concern and Queensland Local Government supporting a state ban, the State Government has yet to act to ban balloon releases.

“The State Government understands the threats that burst helium balloons pose to wildlife,” said Wildlife Queensland campaigns officer Toby Hutcheon. “The fact that that they have failed to ban the release of balloons is irresponsible. So many people still let their balloons go. A ban will put an end to the practice.”

Wildlife Queensland has been educating state schools, organisations and community groups on helium balloon littering and the dangers to wildlife of this practice (see previous news story) and is now working with the Boomerang Alliance on Council guidelines to prevent balloons being released at any Council events.

What you can do
  • Contact your local MP and ask them to lobby the government to introduce a ban.
  • If you see an event deliberately releasing balloons, take a picture and send it to the Department of Environment and Science with details of where and when the release happened.


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