By Madison Kroon
Perth authorities are expanding their ban on balloons in a bid to save local wildlife.
Experts say animals are often killed after eating discarded balloons.
RSPCA spokesman Richard Schoonraad said that the rubbish is having a large impact on our wildlife.
Animals often mistake it for food. He said birds will pick up the rubbish and take it back to the nest while others foraging by the side of the road are in danger from passing traffic.
Schoonraad said that once ingested, litter can cause a very slow, painful death.
Helium balloons are particularly problematic, as we aren’t able to know when they land once they drop he said.
The RSPCA has done its part to ban balloons at the Million Paws Walk this weekend. It won’t be handing out balloons and has asked people not to bring them.
City of Nedlands CEO Greg Trevaskis is leading one of the many councils that have already banned balloons.
The ban was prompted through a letter received by WA Greens politician Robin Chapple.
“Several councils have already instigated similar bans over the past 18 months… others are at least exploring the possibility,” said Trevaskis.
The city of Nedlands has banned balloons inside council buildings, as well as the release of helium balloons in public spaces.
“We’re simply trying to send a message that we’re concerned about the environment… balloons eventually come down but we don’t know where they’re going.”
“Ultimately, the deliberate release of helium balloons contravenes the Litter Act 1979.
“It’s not a local law and we’re not fining people – it’s just part of our guidelines for using City facilities,” said Trevaskis.
Organisations have begun their own war on waste, with the upcoming Curtin Education Community conference opting out of balloon use.
“We have decided not to use balloons at our conference to reduce waste and environmental impact… plastic can be hazardous for the local environment and wildlife,” said CEC team member David Middleton.
Instead the conference will use eco-friendly alternatives, promoting sustainability by using natural table centerpieces and recycled wine barrels instead of tables.
Middleton said they’re also using calico bags and taking measures to reduce paper usage.