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Vancouver park commissioner wants a ban on balloons

Caroline Floyd

Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 5:28 PM - Balloons will soon be grounded permanently in Vancouver parks if one commissioner has his way.

Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon has put forward a motion to prohibit balloons in the city's parks, suggesting the lighter-than-air decorations take a heavy toll on the environment.

"Balloons being made of latex or plastic are non-renewable, and non-renewables are an ever-increasing product in our landfills, beaches, waterways, oceans and other natural areas," the motion reads, calling for a ban on their use in parks and community centres, among other areas "within the jurisdiction of the Board."

The motion also raises concerns for animals, such sea turtles, birds, and dolphins, who may mistakenly ingest or become entangled by the balloons or their strings.

Vancouver wouldn't be the first city to enact such a ban. Nantucket, Mass., outlawed the inflatables in 2015, citing similar concerns. Balloon releases are also against the law in parts of Australia, Florida, Texas, and other U.S. states. For the past several years, Surrey, B.C.'s annual Vaisakhi parade has been asked to put restrictions on handing out balloons; the parade's publicist told a local news agency Vancouver International Airport called to complain about the number of errant balloons. "They estimated 100,000 balloons in the air [in 2015]."

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador drafted guidelines for the release of helium balloons in 2002, a document which is pointed to by a number of different Canadian provincial and city governments.

Sources: City of VancouverIndependent | Newfoundland and Labrador Dept of Environment | Vancouver 24hrs

Watch below: How biodegradable are those environmentally friendly water bottles?

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