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Animal Concern Advice Line News

ACAL ask the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment to Ban the Deilberate Release of Ballons and Chinese Lanterns in Scotland

February 4th 2018: For nearly thirty years John Robins has been campaigning against mass balloon releases which litter the environment with dangerous shards of plastic. Now that a thirty second TV sequence from David Attenborough has brought the issue of marine pollution to the attention of the world John has asked both the Holyrood and Westminster Governments to ban balloon releases and the use of sky lanterns. The press release from ACAL explains the situation.

The Scottish Government has been asked to take more action to prevent plastic and other dangerous materials polluting our environment. The charity Animal Concern Advice Line (ACAL) has asked Roseanna Cunningham MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, to ban the deliberate release of balloons and Chinese lanterns anywhere in Scotland. Thousands of balloons are released every year in charity fundraising stunts, commercial events such as product launches and at private parties.

John Robins of ACAL said; “The old saying that what goes up must come down is very true. Deflated or half deflated balloons can come down on farm fields and be eaten by cattle and sheep or they can land in lochs, rivers and the sea where they become a lethal hazard to animals including grazing farm and wild animals as well as fish, birds and marine mammals. Wire components in Chinese lanterns are also a danger to animals plus the lanterns are basically flying incendiary devices which can cause fires, including wild fires. I'm hoping these dangerous pollutants can be banned along with cotton buds in new legislation promised by the Scottish Government.”

Email to Roseanna Cunningham (a similar e-mail was sent to Michael Gove asking for a ban in England and Wales):

Roseanna Cunningham MSP,
Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform,
The Scottish Government,
St. Andrew's House,
Regent Road,
Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Dear Cabinet Secretary,

I write to ask you to take action to curb dangerous but easily avoidable pollution of the environment.

What I am requesting is a new law or an amendment to existing legislation to ban the deliberate release of balloons and Chinese lanterns throughout Scotland. Balloons pose a risk to farm animals and wild animals and birds which can eat deflated balloons and fragments of burst balloons causing obstructions in their gullet and digestive system. They pose a special risk to fish and marine mammals which can mistake them for jellyfish and other natural food sources.

Chinese lanterns carry the risk of setting fire to property and starting wild fires. These lanterns can contain thin wire ribs which pose a risk to grazing farm and wild animals.

A few local authorities already ban the release of balloons and Chinese lanterns from Council owned land but what is really needed is a total ban throughout the country.

I urge you to give this request serious consideration.

Yours sincerely,

John F. Robins,
Animal Concern