Bega District Letters to the Editor, February 13

Water balloons collected from a lake foreshore indicate the issue with releasing balloons goes beyond helium. Photo: Farley MacDonald
Water balloons collected from a lake foreshore indicate the issue with releasing balloons goes beyond helium. Photo: Farley MacDonald

Balloon fight litter

Our oceans have a new threat from littering humans.

Not just all the plastic pollution we throw at it, including micro-beads. Not just the released balloons that end up as marine debris, threatening wildlife. Not just the straws that don't make it into garbage bins.

It now has to contend with tiny balloons left over from water balloon fights.

The balloons are filled with water and then thrown at other people. Apparently this is entertaining and fun. To make it easier for people to fill more balloons, the manufacturer now provides a method whereby many balloons can be filled with water at once (“fill 100 balloons in 60 seconds”) and self-seal, using more single use plastic equipment.

The problem is that too many people are not being responsible by cleaning up the resulting litter when used in public spaces such as parks and beaches. Rain then washes the balloons into the waterways and oceans. With many now being found on beaches, one has to wonder how many have been ingested by marine wildlife.

The balloons are marketed as “biodegradable”, but the chemicals added for colour and longevity lengthen this process, with an unknown effect on decomposition. All the while, the balloons are litter, and pose a threat to wildlife.

As with plastic, toxins can be absorbed by the balloons, and if ingested by fish, the toxins can be passed up the food chain to humans. The small size of the balloon remnants means small fish can ingest them, who are then eaten by larger fish.

No Balloon Release Australia has been advocating for a national ban on the release of balloons and the use of helium to inflate balloons. The water balloon problem is not a part of this. Leaving these balloons in public places is plain littering, subject to the Littering Act and therefore subject to fines.

The local council should be notified, with details of those responsible if possible.

If people must use these water filled balloons, then each and every one must be collected when spent.

Otherwise, if people must throw water at each other, reusable alternatives are available such as simple crocheted water absorbent “balloons”.

Karen Joynes, Bermagui

No Balloon Release Australia

Turning a blind eye

The proponents of having the date of Australia Day changed are conveniently turning a blind eye to many of the facts. 

Call it Australia Day, or call the 26th of January invasion day, whatever butters your toast, however the question should be asked, are so-called Aboriginals better off now than they would have been had not this continent been settled by the British?

Of course many will argue they are worse off. It would appear the proponents for this case would  not only have the handful of full blooded Aboriginals, but all Australians to go back to the days prior to the arrival of the First Fleet  when the native people were, by today's standards  surviving under extremely primitive conditions.

By far the majority of so-called “Indigenous” activists who appear on the media are not full blooded Aboriginal people, in fact it is very doubtful if a lot  of them have any Aboriginal blood in their veins at all. I have a little Aboriginal blood in me yet I do not claim to be Indigenous. 

It is somewhat amusing to hear some of these white pretenders claim Australia was invaded and to listen to their sob stories. May I remind these wannabes that in the majority of cases they would not be here if it hadn't been for British and European settlement.  I wonder if they consider the light colouring of their skin as an invasion?

Tom Griffin, Pambula

  • Letters on any topic are most welcome. Submissions of no more than 300 words to ben.smyth@fairfaxmedia.com.au with a name and home town for publication and a contact number for verification.

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