In our Marine Litter Report, published 2014 we call for legislation to ban balloon and sky lantern releases. We support the move from James Mustoe, Cornwall Councillor for Mevagissey, to submitted a motion to Cornwall Council for a vote on banning the release of sky lanterns and balloons from Cornwall Council property.
Balloon and lantern releases result in littering, as what goes up, will soon come down. When these balloons and lanterns fall back to the ground they not only directly litter our beautiful countryside and coastline, but can cause a significant risk to wildlife.
Commenting, Cllr Mustoe said,
“To me the release of so-called ‘Chinese lanterns’ and balloons, particularly in large numbers, is essentially, at the very least, littering by another delivery method. I have seen cases where balloons have choked and killed animals after they have fallen to the ground, reports of balloons becoming trapped in marine creatures’ digestive systems, leading to their deaths, and also where sky lanterns have caused fires on their descent. These things might look pretty when released but it is our duty to consider the long term effects that that their use can have.
This is the first motion I am putting before Cornwall Council and I am delighted to have received full cross-party support from all of the other parties and groups on Cornwall Council, as well as the backing of Surfers against Sewage and our local MP.
So far these devices are banned in several other countries, and their release prohibited by over thirty local authorities in the UK. With our miles of beautiful coastline and unspoiled rural vistas, it is a real shame that we have not already put this ban in place, and I very much hope that my colleagues on Cornwall Council will agree with me when it comes up for debate on 21 July”.
Commenting, Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage said,
“Surfers Against Sewage congratulates Cllr Mustoe on bringing this important motion forward and fully supports a Cornwall Council ban of all balloon and sky lantern releases across its properties. These releases are in fact direct form of littering, negatively impacting Cornwall’s beautiful coastline and countryside, harming wildlife and costing the council money in clean up costs. Our volunteers regularly find balloon waste at our community beach cleans, and it estimated that 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds are killed by marine litter every year, which these unnecessary releases contribute to.”
I commend Cllr Mustoe for putting this vote before the Council. As Chairman of the Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group I am all too aware of the delayed impact the release of sky lanterns and balloons can have on our wildlife, countryside and marine environment. I hope that Cornwall Council does its bit and votes to ban their release at their upcoming meeting.
Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay and Chairman of our Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group