Aussie town bans balloons and single-use party decorations

Critics question the effectiveness and impact of new restrictions as council claims the tourist town is 'leading the way'.

Aussie town bans balloons and single-use party decorations
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Byron Shire Council on the NSW far north coast has introduced a controversial ban on balloons and other single-use decorations, claiming the introduction will have a significant environmental impact.

Announced on Tuesday, the ban covers all balloons — biodegradable, helium, latex, and water — along with glitter, confetti, streamers, tinsel, party poppers, and glow sticks in council buildings, parks, and outdoor areas.

Mayor Michael Lyon defended the decision, asserting:

“We know that balloons are one of the most lethal types of debris impacting Australian seabirds and other marine life, including turtles, who eat burst balloons because they look like jellyfish.”

“If balloons and party decorations are ending up in our oceans and waterways and causing harm to our precious marine life, we have to take strong and immediate action to stop this happening, Lyon said.

However, critics argue that the ban may be more symbolic than effective. They question whether such measures will significantly reduce marine debris, pointing out that enforcement could be challenging and that other sources of pollution remain unaddressed.

The new regulation impacts anyone planning events in council-owned venues, such as community halls, parks, playgrounds, sporting facilities, swimming pools, and road reserves, including letterboxes and street poles.

The council is promoting reusable alternatives like flowers, bunting, fairy lights, and bubbles.

“Many local events and venues have already taken the step to eliminate some of these items, and this is just the next phase of Byron leading the way, Lyon said.

This announcement follows the council’s earlier implementation of a single-use packaging and materials policy on June 1.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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