COUNCILLORS have banned mass balloon releases on West Dunbartonshire controlled land to protect wildlife.

At a full council meeting on Wednesday, May 29, Councillor Iain McLaren submitted a motion stating that all released balloons return to Earth as ugly litter that is dangerous to wildlife.

He called on elected officials to recognise the concern of environmentalists, biologists and animal lovers, as well as raising awareness of the issues mass balloon releases can cause.

The motion was unanimously agreed, meaning council officers must now take steps to ban any balloon releases on council-controlled land.

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The practice has become popular at weddings, and family celebrations including memorials, and even as a way of remembering loved ones who have passed away.

Speaking at the meeting Councillor McLaren said: “Everything that goes up, they say, must come down, and in the case of balloons they fall as litter from the sky.

“Two thirds of our planet surface is covered by water so in many cases the balloons fall into the sea where they are a lethal hazard for sea life.

“They are mistaken for jellyfish and other food by many species and ingesting them is almost inevitably fatal.

“In terms of waste, balloons are the number one killer of sea birds, and balloons that fall on land are just as dangerous with deaths of animals ranging from lambs to horses.

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“The materials they are made of are extremely hazardous to wildlife. Even balloons marked as biodegradable take years to break down and are lethal to land and sea life during that time.”

The councillor also thanked local environmental groups Plastic Free West Dunbartonshire and Friends of Dumbarton Foreshore for their “tireless and committed” work of cleaning up plastics and other litter to make West Dunbartonshire a nicer place for all.