Environmentalist Karen Joynes is lobbying the NSW government to ban the release of balloons with a petition

Karen Joynes, an environmental activist from the South Coast of New South Wales, has been trying to get balloon releases banned in Australia for six years.

She said the evidence of birds getting tangled in balloon ribbons or ingesting balloons is both heartbreaking and consistent.

Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania have all banned balloon releases, but it remains legal in its home state.

“New South Wales is late in allowing the release of 19 balloons.

Through Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann, Ms Jones is calling on the NSW Government to end the practice altogether.

“Research has shown that balloons kill wildlife and end up as trash,” she said.

“His [an allowance to release 19 balloons] an anachronistic law that belongs to the last century and we don’t need any allowance for balloon releases.”

Fragments of a balloon found inside sea life, including inside the stomach of this green sea turtle.(UK Marine Environmental Monitoring: Rod Penrose)

Getting impatient after years of waiting

Karen Joynes has been asked not to pressure the NSW government to ban balloon releases until the NSW Plastics action plan is released.

The plan is a document outlining how the state will approach the life cycle of plastic from production, consumption, disposal and recycling.

Ms Jones said when the plan was published a ban on the release of balloons was not part of it.

“An amendment was then put forward by the Animal Justice Party to ban the release of balloons and the motion was backed by the Greens and Labour,” Ms Jones said.

“It was voted down and I’m confident that if we can get the motion revived, it will pass the next time around.

She said she also hopes the new campaign will catch the eye of new environment minister James Griffin.

Fragments of blue balloons and ribbons lay on the sand of a beach.
Environmental activist Karen Joynes says some balloons are treated with chemicals, which means they cannot biodegrade.(Facebook: Karen Joynes)

Total balloon ban not required

Despite her campaign against releasing balloons outdoors, Karen Joynes is not calling for a total ban on balloons.

She said if the balloons are used indoors and disposed of properly, they will not pose a hazard to wildlife.

“Even some latex balloons have a lot of chemicals in them so they don’t biodegrade, but latex balloons can be legitimately used indoors as air-fillers and for decoration.

“As long as they are pinned and stowed as recommended by the ball industry, there is no problem with balls used indoors.”