Motion could stick needle in balloons at Vancouver parks
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017 11:35AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 13, 2017 9:06PM EDT
A Vancouver politician is hoping to deflate the use of balloons at city parks.
Stuart Mackinnon, the Vancouver Park Board commissioner, put forward a motion that would prohibit the use and display of balloons -- mylar, rubber or plastic -- in Vancouver’s parks and community centres.
MacKinnon hopes the board, which is responsible for all activities in parks and community centres, will vote on the motion Monday night.
“I understand that this motion can be seen once again as no-fun Vancouver,” Mackinnon told CTV Vancouver.
“We know that balloons are generally one-use items that end up in our landfills or worse into our waterways and get into the ocean.”
MacKinnon’s motion states the colourful inflatables pose a risk to birds, sea turtles, dolphins and other wildlife that either eat the deflated remains and suffer internal injuries, or die after becoming tangled in balloon strings.
Dr. Martin Haulena, a veterinarian with the Vancouver Aquarium, has seen the danger balloons pose firsthand.
“The line from the balloons can get wrapped up around bird wings, their feet,” he said. “Also (it’s a) huge problem with ingestions. Sea turtles will ingest them, birds will ingest them, marine mammals will ingest them.”
Haulena says while balloons can be dangerous for wildlife, as long as people clean up after themselves, balloons can stay.
“I don’t think we need a ban,” he said. “I think as long as everyone's responsible with their balloons, I think it’s okay.”
Animals aren’t the only ones who can be harmed by balloons. A study from the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the DuPont Institute found balloons cause more childhood deaths than any other toy.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Shannon Paterson and files from The Canadian Press