Under the Freedom of Information Act I wrote to D.E.F.R.A asking questions relevant to the future banning of Mass Balloon Releases because of the harm to the environment and wildlife. This is their reply.
The old saying “as useful as a chocolate teapot” comes to mind. If you read their 2013 report they mention in their reply you will come across this paragraph –
“Recent surveys (e.g. from ‘Beachwatch’) have enabled evidence to be collected in relation to helium balloons and from these the project team has concluded that litter is only of minor significance. Representative bodies are aware of potential litter issues and therefore advocate the use of latex (not foil) balloons for races or mass launches, because these are claimed to biodegrade more rapidly. Speed of degradation of balloon debris is an important factor from the perspective of littering (and also in relation to risks to farm animals, wildlife etc.). The currently-available evidence on the rate of latex degradation is considered inconclusive and clarification would provide useful evidence of the extent to which balloon litter is likely to contribute to the overall environmental impact.”
So basically it’s fine to release latex balloons. Was it not a latex balloon that was causing considerable suffering to marine life in Blue Planet 2?
This indifference to the damage caused by balloons, helium or latex must not be allowed to continue and I urge anyone who reads this to write to the Environment Minister Michael Gove, or lobby their MP, or protest, anything to jerk DEFRA’s head out of its backside and take proper action.