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Posts Tagged ‘helium balloons’

‘Life After Loss’ conducts a balloon release to raise awareness of infant mortality

Delia M. Webb, Baby Loss Awareness Week, Life After Loss, Belfast, balloon release, Malone House, Belfast City Council, environmental policy, Cornwall, balloon litter, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving, Fiesty, Horse killed, Jennifer Birtwhistle

Baby Loss Awareness Week‘ is held on an annual basis in mid October giving bereaved parents, family members and friends the opportunity to commemorate the brief lives of their babies. The week is important in that it also provides a crucial opportunity for people to talk openly about the subject and raise awareness of baby loss.

Delia M. Webb, Baby Loss Awareness Week, Life After Loss, Belfast, balloon release, Malone House, Belfast City Council, environmental policy, Cornwall, balloon litter, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving, This year ‘Life After Loss‘ announced that it would be holding its annual Belfast Balloon Release on Sunday 14 October 2018 at Malone House.

Several members of the public contacted ‘Life After Loss’ through their website and on their Facebook page asking the charity to rethink the balloon release aspect. Every message was politely made, highlighting that balloon releases can maim and kill farm, wild and marine life whilst causing mass and unnecessary littering.

A second aspect was highlighted to ‘Loss After Life’. Helium (balloon gas) is finite. It cannot be manufactured, it is mined, and ironically this valuable gas is needed for medical scanners, not to be profligately wasted to release a bunch of balloons.

The charity and its members ignored the lobbying, and went ahead with the balloon release.

Delia M. Webb, Baby Loss Awareness Week, Life After Loss, Belfast, balloon release, Malone House, Belfast City Council, environmental policy, Cornwall, balloon litter, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving, Jennifer Birtwhistle, horse killed, Fiesty

Some of those who took part in the balloon release made these comments on social media

Well my emotions come before your facts 🙂 like I said if I wanna let a balloon go I will

I am aware of what damage the balloons could do and like I said I don’t care as there’s a lot worse that could be done and is done everyday

I wanna remember my son by letting of a balloon and all your comments aren’t going to change my mind

There’s so much more happening in day to day life that is effecting wildlife and the environment ! I understand that balloons are causing damage but there not the only thing !

Everyone has an impact on damaging the environment not just a few balloons so why not keep your opinions to yourself and let people grieve in whatever way they like ?

Malone House

This mass balloon release took place at Malone House, a property is owned and managed by Belfast City Council. It is therefore a council facility. This balloon release immediately contradicts Belfast City Council’s Environmental Policy Statement.

Our vision. We are committed to protecting the environment. In doing so, we will try to improve the quality of life of all of our citizens, both now and for future generations.” Belfast City Council Environmental Policy Statement

I spoke to a member of staff at Belfast City Council who stated “the council discourages balloon releases, we have a voluntary ban in place.” However Belfast City Council did not stop this mass balloon release.

Delia M. Webb, Baby Loss Awareness Week, Life After Loss, Belfast, balloon release, Malone House, Belfast City Council, environmental policy, Cornwall, balloon litter, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving, jelly fish, turtle dies, horse killed, Fiesty, Jennifer Birtwhistle

We can tell the difference between a balloon and a jellyfish, but marine life can’t. It is not surprising that marine life can choke and die after ‘eating’ a balloon

Time To Act

“It’s only a few balloons”, but there are hundreds of thousands of people saying the same thing. So where do ‘just a few’ (million) balloons end up after you have said your prayers and lost sight of them?

Delia M. Webb, Baby Loss Awareness Week, Life After Loss, Belfast, balloon release, Malone House, horse killed, Fiesty, Jennifer Birtwhistle, Belfast City Council, environmental policy, Cornwall, balloon litter, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving, bird diesIn May 2018 a peer review study by Delia M. Webb was published that revealed 2,223 pieces of balloon litter were found on 39 beaches across Cornwall between July – December 2016.

The study entitled “Just a balloon? A local study of the extent and impacts of balloon litter on beaches” has reported that some of the balloons found on Cornish beaches had travelled from other parts of the UK, Ireland and Europe. It is more than probable that the balloons released in Belfast, will end up in Cornwall.

It is time that we now ban balloon and sky lantern releases – its on a par with fly tipping. Unfortunately it seems that contacting the organisers of these wanton littering events and asking them nicely to cease and desist, does not always stop this environmental hazard. We now need a law change.

The Purim Trust cancels Balloon Release PR

On 24 March 2018 ‘The Purim Trust‘ was launched, and they conducted their first fund raiser on the same day raising £1,400. The aim of this Brit based charity is to sponsor vulnerable children in the Philippines.

The Purim Trust, educating children, Philippines, Esther McCarthy, The cost of sponsoring a child is £28 per month and this budget covers the child’s food, clothing, school supplies and uniform, health and dental care, and transport to and from their school.

As a new venture, the Purim Trust are working on a little budget and needed to get the word out that they had launched, and please support this great venture. The solution? Utilise balloons.

It is a natural PR choice when consequences of releasing balloons are not understood. Children love balloons, they are cheap, colourful and everyone can get involved. On the face of it, asking people to release biodegradable balloons to get engaged and promote the Purim Trust seems a smart PR move.

As a symbol of our mission to deliver hope to those in need we will have our very own balloon release this Saturday.

So many of you have supported us to get this far and we have asked you to video yourself releasing your Purim Trust balloon where ever you are in the world and post it on social media (tagging @thepurimtrust).

We are so excited to see your posts and will be sharing them with the world here on our Insta.

Helium Balloon, Mylar balloon, Foil balloon, Swan Lane, Stock, Essex, balloon release, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company

A helium balloon found entangled in a hedge in Swan Lane, Stock, Essex on 28 March 2018 by the author

The Purim Trust had followed advice and made sure they were using biodegradable materials, not understanding that biodegradable balloons take many years to rot down, and can still maim and kill farm, wild and marine life.

After a number of people contacted the Purim Trust, highlighting the negatives issues of balloon releases, the charity quickly reviewed their policy and made the following statement.

We want to apologise for causing offence to anyone in our efforts to promote our charity supporting vulunerable children in the Philippines…we have learned from the comments [about balloon releases and ‘biodegradable balloons’] which we’re grateful for and won’t be posting any more balloon release videos.

We hope this will reassure our critics and may go some way to restoring faith in the real objectives of our charity: helping deprived children get an education.

Hat’s off to the Purim Trust. They swiftly rectified the issue by no longer condoning balloon releases. They cleaned up their social media feed and issued a genuine apology. We wish them every success with their life-changing venture.

 

 

 

Iwade School Cancels Planned Balloon Release

The Sittingbourne based Primary School in Kent recently commemorated Remembrance Day with a two minute silence to remember past and present service personnel.

Iwade School had also planned to release helium balloons as part of the event. However after receiving advice from Rosemary Lunn of The Underwater Marketing Company and reading environmental news articles, the school reviewed the event and cancelled the balloon release.

Instead 50 children along with their parents, took the balloon tribute decorated with poppies, and placed them inside ‘All Saints Church‘, Iwade to be part of the Remembrance Day Sunday service.

balloons blow, don't let go, Iwade School, biodegradable balloons, balloon release, The Underwater Marketing Company, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, scuba diving news, Iwade School

The weighted helium balloon display at Iwade School designed to commemorate Remembrance Sunday

“We, like many others, would have followed the strict guidelines given to us from our supplier and believed they were all biodegradable and only by reading your information and seeing things in the local news we find that this is not entirely accurate. We thank you again for providing us with further information so we can, as you suggest, make different decisions in the future so we do not further threaten our environment.”
Caroline Mariner, Principal, Iwade School

Many balloon suppliers advise that so-called ‘biodegradable balloons‘ are made made from natural latex, hence they take the same time to decompose as an oak leaf. Gardeners are aware that whilst some leaves mulch down quite quickly, oak leaves are remarkably durable and can take up to four years to decompose. During this time, it is quite possible for farm, wild and marine life to ingest or choke on a biodegradable balloon and die.

 

McDonald’s – It’s Time To Stop Using Helium Balloons

Professor Robert Richardson, McDonald's, helium balloons, Peter Wothers, MRI scanners, Despicable Me 3, environmental policy, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving PR,

In July 2017 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK promoted the film “Despicable Me 3” by using helium balloons

In December 2012 Professor Robert Richardson of Cornell University in New York argued that a helium party balloon should cost somewhere in the region of £75 to more accurately reflect the true scarcity of the gas. What is Richardson’s authority with this gas? In 1996 Professor Richardson won the Nobel physics prize for his research on helium.

Just a month later, in January 2013, the Independent newspaper published an article entitled “A ballooning problem: the great helium shortage“.

In the article Peter Wothers, a British Chemist and a teaching fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge stated, “The scarcity of helium is a really serious issue. I can imagine that in 50 years’ time our children will be saying ‘I can’t believe they used such a precious material to fill balloons’”.

We only have a finite supply of helium. It is a vital scientific gas and it is needed to run medical machines such as MRI scanners. In both fields this gas is irreplaceable.

Granted we are not going to run out of helium tomorrow, but it is now time to carefully use helium. 100 years ago we utilised ivory in much the same way that plastic is currently consumed. No one batted an eye at shooting an elephant so that the tusks could be used to make billiard balls. Today we think about ivory and elephants completely differently and this thinking needs to extend to helium and balloons. Filling balloons with helium is absolutely the wrong use of this precious resource.

McDonald’s Helium Balloons

We are now in the summer of 2017. The film Despicable Me 3 has just been rolled out in UK cinemas and who doesn’t love a Minion! It is no surprise that McDonald’s has teamed up with this movie franchise and run some co-promotions because these films are joyous pieces of fun. What was less joyous was spotting that McDonald’s had fallen back on an old fashioned, out-dated method to promote the fast food chain and the film. Tying helium filled branded balloons to the railings outside their restaurant.

Professor Robert Richardson, McDonald's, helium balloons, Peter Wothers, MRI scanners, Despicable Me 3, environmental policy, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving PR,

The McDonald’s co-branded balloons displayed information about Despicable Me 3 and the McDonald’s Happy Meal, along with a ‘don’t litter’ sign

I therefore thought it an appropriate time to check out McDonald’s Environmental Policy. The relevant page has the title “striving for a sustainable future”.

At McDonald’s we recognise our responsibility to protect and preserve the environment for future generations. That is why we have a sustainable sourcing policy for food and packaging and aim to use our planet’s resources efficiently.

We believe in the importance of having a positive impact on the hundreds of communities in which we operate. Apart from supporting grassroots football and helping to fundraise for RMHC, we help to keep local areas clean and litter free by organising daily litter patrols and larger clean-up events.

Through our Planet Champion Programme, we train our employees on sustainable practices and inspire them to do their part, both in the restaurants and at home.”

Dear McDonald’s

Printing a “please don’t litter” sign on your balloons really doesn’t make much of an environmental impact. If you really want to change this planet for the better, please review your ‘Planet Champion Programme’ and bring it up to date.

Helium is a finite resource. It is time to stop using this precious gas in balloons as a marketing mechanism throughout your entire group. You have the worldwide power and authority to make a positive impact and help educate the public that the party is well and truly over when it comes to helium balloons. It won’t take much effort. It will make a massive difference. Please make it so. Thank you.