The Malta Independent 21 August 2018, Tuesday

Clean Up Malta pushes for ban on balloon releases

Tuesday, 29 May 2018, 08:47 Last update: about 4 months ago

The Malta Clean Up group, who spend time voluntarily cleaning up Malta and Gozo have appealed to the Prime Minister, the Environment Minister and all local councils to help ban all balloon releases during Maltese feasts, due to the damage caused to the environment.

In her letter, Malta Clean Up founder and The Malta Independent columnist Camilla Appelgren, argued that balloons are nothing but litter, and said there is no chance of the person releasing the balloon cleaning it up.

She quoted Maltese Law, which states that: “No person shall throw down, drop or otherwise deposit in, into or from any place in the open air to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access without payment, and leave anything whatsoever in such circumstances as to cause, contribute to, or tend to lead to, the defacement by litter of any place in the open air, unless such depositing and leaving was lawfully authorized.”

She said that her group understands that some litter is allowed during feasts, such as confetti which is then cleaned up by the organisers, “however, balloons let loose into the air can't be cleaned up. Every year all around the globe, hundreds of thousands of sea creatures ingest balloon remains at sea. There can only be three outcomes to this: that the creature chokes on the plastic and dies; that they get entangled in the string attached to the balloon, as well as the balloon itself; or that the creature eats the balloon without choking and the plastic fills its stomach leading to the creature not feeling hungry and starving.”

As for the arguments surrounding biodegradable balloons, she argued that they may not degrade at all at sea and if they do, could still take a decade. 

The founder said that, at the moment, she is pushing for the law to clearly ban balloon releases.

She asked those addressed in the email to help inform the feast committees that no balloons should be released, and to help ban their release.

“We are killing our ocean while at the same time we are working to save it! It's time for you to take a stand against this harm to our environment.”

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