By Sofia Ammoun
A Fremantle environmentalist is waging a war against people releasing helium-filled balloons during celebrations and ceremonies across Western Australia.
Lisa Hills runs the Facebook page Boycott Balloons Fremantle and has successfully convinced several schools and organisations to stop releasing balloons during graduations and other ceremonies.
Kennedy Baptist College, Carey Baptist College and Perth College are all schools which have agreed to stop using balloons.
The Metropolitan Cemetery Board also released a statement in response to her letter suggesting they stopped supporting the use of helium-filled balloons.
“Due to the environmental impact caused by the release of helium balloons, the MCB is now requesting that families are discouraged from this practice and are offered more environmentally responsible tribute options.” it said.
Hills has spent the past four years lobbying government to make an amendment to the littering act because she believes the balloons are extremely harmful to our native wildlife.
“Once the balloons deflate and fall back down to us on the ground birds and other wildlife can easily mistake them for food and end up dying because they have choked on the plastic remains,” said Hills.
Marine Scientist Lauren Romon from NSW has witnessed the deaths of a number of seabirds due to balloons since she started working for Australian Seabird Rescue.
“We recently found a white-headed petrel and it unfortunately didn’t survive because we discovered that its digestive system was stuffed full of a red party balloon with the ribbon still attached,” said Romon.
“A lot of individuals admit that they are unaware of helium balloons even being a threat to wildlife so it’s more a matter of educating individuals on the devastating impact these balloons can have.”