SAVE THE TURTLES: Hinkler Parties owner Tony Nagar is saying no to the release of balloons and is urging people to use the
SAVE THE TURTLES: Hinkler Parties owner Tony Nagar is saying no to the release of balloons and is urging people to use the "pin it and bin it” method. TAHLIA STEHBENS

Balloon releases are bust for Bundy party store

PARTY supply business Hinker Parties is putting a ban on balloon releases, with the help of Kalkie school kids.

Business owner Tony Neighbour said stopping the sale balloons for releases in a bid to protect the region's turtles.

Mr Neighbour said releasing balloons was against the littering act and not only was marine life ingesting the balloons but they were also getting tangled in the string.

The move has the support of Burnett MP Stephen Bennett and the Sea Turtle Alliance.

While it will affect his business, Mr Neighbour isn't too worried.

"In the end you've got to make a stand and say what's more important. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” he said.

"It's an independent decision. It's an awareness thing.”

He said even biodegradable balloons made it to the beach and took a long time to break down, which could mean death for an endangered loggerhead turtle.

"In 10 years time we'll look back and go 'Geez I can't believe we did that',” he said of releasing balloons into the air.

He's now promoting that people use longer strings tied to weights instead of releasing balloons and then later disposing of them properly and putting them into the bin - an idea that came from Kalkie State Schools kids.

Teacher Judith Stutchbury said the school's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Reef Guardian Schools leaders learnt from rangers at the Mon Repos turtle rookery about how bad helium balloons were for marine life including turtles.

The leaders then spoke to other students about it and together came up with the idea to simply use longer strings and tie the balloons down so they couldn't find their way into the ocean.

Soon after, the school's grade two and three students wrote letters to Mayor Jack Dempsey, which he took to the State Government, asking for a ban on releasing helium balloons .

Sea Turtle Alliance president Gary Brandon said any move to ban releasing more plastic into the environment was a step in the right direction.

"Plastic is a threat to all marine life.

Mr Brandon said one study showed that by 2050 the plastic in the ocean would weigh more than the marine life.

Mr Bennett said helium balloons posed a greater risk to the environment because of their potential to end up anywhere.

Carly Morrisey



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