Environmental NGOs join forces to call for an end to ‘pretty littering’

The number of balloon & Chinese lantern releases in Ireland appears to be on the increase. These visual displays can have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on our environment. The Irish Wildlife Trust, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Irish Seal Sanctuary and BirdWatch Ireland would like to remind those considering balloon & lantern releases that these frequently have direct negative consequences for wildlife and the environment.

While these displays are often carried out in celebration, Ireland’s leading wildlife charities urge the public to think about the potential consequences, and consider alternatives instead. Balloon latex can take up to twelve months to degrade in the marine environment and have been found in the stomachs of whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks and birds. Chinese lanterns have been responsible for death and injury to domesticated and wild animals alike, along with causing injuries to humans, presenting a fire risk, and wasting resources when mistaken for emergency flares at sea.

Debbi Pedreschi, spokesperson for the coallition said ‘Releasing balloons or lanterns is essentially ‘pretty littering’ and there is no excuse for not thinking about the consequences. What goes up must come down; fragments, strings and wires contaminate the environment, and cause animals to become entangled or even to choke to death . We urge the public to stop releasing balloons and lanterns; there are far more environmentally friendly ways to celebrate, or commemorate, without risking the safety of our wildlife.’

For full details, or for a list of alternatives to balloons and lanterns, see here

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