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Balloons and sky lanterns are often released as a way of commemorating the passing of a loved one, marking a commercial event (product or event launch, attraction opening etc.), or fundraising event.
The Problem: Releasing sky lanterns and helium-filled balloons can have many environmental, social and economic impacts. Unexpired sky lanterns pose a significant fire hazard. Livestock and wildlife on both the land and sea can be lost as a result of ingestion of parts from sky lanterns and balloon debris. Entrapment and panic are also issues which may affect livestock and wildlife.
What are the alternatives? There are many alternatives to balloon and sky lantern releases such as tree planting, flag flying, or even using giant bubbles! To avoid unintentionally littering with balloons, you can instead have fun, celebrate, and remember with environmentally-friendly alternatives. Click here for some great ideas. To find out more about the effects of balloon and sky lantern releases and the many alternatives on offer, take a look at Marine Conservation Don’t Let Go.
*From 1 October 2023 there will be additional bans and restrictions on single-use plastic items in England. The ban includes Plastic Balloon Sticks, to find out more click here.
*The Marine Conservation Norfolk Action Group have carried out research into balloon litter found on Norfolk beaches. In 2022 there were 132 balloons or balloon fragments found during Norfolk beach cleans. Read the full report here.
*Norfolk County Council has prohibited the release of sky lanterns or balloons on any land or property owned by the county council. The council has created this charter with the aim of encouraging businesses, communities, landowners and individuals to switch to alternative ways of celebrating and commemorating events, rather than using balloon or lantern releases.
For more on the county council commitments click here.
Businesses, organisations, schools, landowners and individuals can all sign up to pledge: