The decision by Brisbane City Council to ban certain single-use plastic items commonly littered at Council events is a step in the right direction according to Wildlife Queensland, and was well-timed to highlight our current campaign to continue reducing the impact of these harmful items on our environment and its wildlife.
“Wildlife Queensland welcomes the decision by Brisbane City Council to ban the use of plastic straws, helium balloons and plastic bottles in all council operations and council sponsored events,” said Wildlife Queensland campaigns officer Toby Hutcheon.
“These single-use products, often found in litter, pollute the environment and represent a major threat to our wildlife,” he said. “We urge other Councils to adopt a similar position.”
The deliberate release of helium balloons is a littering offence in Queensland so this decision should act to reduce the terrible impact helium balloons have on wildlife by reducing the practice.
“Wildlife Queensland is lobbying for a complete ban on the deliberate release of helium balloons in Queensland,” Toby told Brisbane Times recently.
Helium balloon releases are already banned in some other Council areas including the Sunshine Coast and Ipswich. Neither the ALP nor LNP allows these balloons to be released at their events.
“With Brisbane City Council taking the lead we look forward to the message getting through to other organisations and businesses about their use and practices regarding single-use plastics,” said Toby.
Helium balloons are particularly harmful, with studies in Moreton Bay showing that among pelagic species of turtles found dead from plastics, over 70 percent of the contents of their stomachs were balloons.
There were similar findings from research on Lord Howe Island. Dr Jenn Lavers from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies says she finds balloons “in about one in every 20 sea birds I examine.”
Most helium-filled balloons are not biodegradable, and even the ones that claim to be, degrade very slowly, by which time they have often been eaten by animals, reptiles or birds or become entangled with wildlife.
Wildlife Queensland is targeting the mass release of helium balloons as well as the potential supply of thicker plastic bags post-bag-ban in its current appeal to take The Next Step: Against Waste in Queensland. Those wanting to learn more and get involved in creating a safer, cleaner, healthier Queensland for our wildlife and for us all can do so here – thank you!