Balloon fundraisers defy wildlife warning
by David Masters
May 14, 2009
A ‘green’ Irish primary school is to set loose thousands of helium filled balloons in Co Dublin today despite warnings that the fundraising stunt will harm the environment.
Mount Anville Primary School in Stillorgan has defied warnings from environmental campaigners that the mass release of balloons has potentially fatal consequences for marine wildlife.
Friends of the Irish Environment said balloon fragments from the launch will litter land and sea, and can cause death if ingested by marine animals such as dolphins, whales, fish, seabirds, and turtles.
“All of these species have been reported with balloons in their stomachs,” said FoIE director Tony Lowes in a letter to the school.
A statement by the FoIE said: “Balloons in seawater deteriorate much slower than those exposed in air, and even after 12 months still retain their elasticity with potential consequences to marine life.”
The FoIE has now written to Ireland’s environment minister John Gormley asking him to ban the practice.
The parent organiser who planned the fundraising event said the balloons were sold for €3 and the launch will go ahead despite FoIE’s warning.
Mount Anville Primary School is credited with ‘Green School’ status by An Taisce.
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