Council calls for Chinese lantern and balloon ban

Derry City & Strabane District Council has called for Chinese lantern and balloon releases to be banned.

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 7:00 pm
Chinese lanterns.

Sinn Féin’s Tina Burke proposed a motion at the Council’s October meeting that called for alternative ways of marking events. This was amended by DUP Alderman Keith Kerrigan to also call for legislation to ban the practice due to the dangers posed to livestock.

Colr. Burke said “choking and entanglement” of animals with the detritus of discarded balloons and lanterns were major issues and large releases amounted to a “mass form of littering”.

“There is the danger lanterns pose to homes, powerlines and trees with them catching fire. It’s not just the environmental impact that needs to be considered,” she said.

She acknowledged releases were often used to commemorate the passing of loved ones but said it was time to look at alternatives.

“We are not trying to interfere with anyone’s grief process, as most people here will have had first hand experience in, but given our current environmental emergency it is important we look at alternative ways to mark these occasions with environmental groups proposing ideas such as the planting of a tree,” she added.

SDLP Councillor Sinead McLaughlin said: “It really is a fairly splendid site as they drift away into the night sky but with the release of helium balloons they must fall back down to earth somewhere and it results, in the very least, as an eyesore and someone has to clean it up.”