New environmental laws and increased powers from the Environment Protection Authority mean it is now illegal to release balloons into the environment in Victoria.
From the 1st of July 2021, a person or company found guilty of releasing helium balloons will receive a hefty fine depending on how many units are released.
This week marks a #WildlifeWin with it now being illegal to release balloons into the environment. Released balloons end up in our waterways & oceans & often get eaten by our seabirds who mistake them for food. This new law will help save countless lives & protect our wildlife. pic.twitter.com/WLIluVyZWm— Wildlife Victoria (@wildlife_vic) July 14, 2021
The penalties for releasing balloons into the environment are as follows (from www.epa.vic.gov.au):
Under section 115 of the Environment Protection Act 2017, fines are:
* up to six penalty units ($991) for a person
* up to 30 penalty units ($4956) for a company.
For a series of balloon releases, and if taken to court, penalties are:
* up to 100 penalty units ($16,522) for a person
* up to 500 penalty units ($82,610) for a company.
Releasing helium balloons is considered littering and the EPA suggests alternative solutions to using balloons from blowing bubbles, floating flowers, reusable or recyclable bunting, paper decorations, or planting a tree.
Balloons are a hazard to wildlife and cause unnecessary litter. Please reconsider using balloons at your next event, try an alternative such as bubbles https://t.co/ebe7k5G8ah— EPA Victoria (@EPA_Victoria) April 7, 2018
Balloons are a major concern with the environment and wildlife, causing animals to ingest them or get entangled. They’ve been identified as one of the top three most harmful pollutants along with plastic bags and bottles.
#Balloons are in the top 3 most most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife. When balloons end up in the #ocean, they can be mistaken by wildlife for food. You can help. Pledge to never use balloons outdoors with @ZoosVictoria: https://t.co/ilGAFKecyE#WorldOceansDay pic.twitter.com/R0G8lopvj9— EPA Victoria (@EPA_Victoria) June 8, 2018
According to zoo.org.au, they are the #1 deadliest form of litter when ingested by seabirds.
You can watch their latest campaign raising awareness about balloons below:
Image Credit: (WorldStockStudio / Shutterstock.com)