Connect with us
background

News

Diving instructor calls for balloon and sky lantern releases to be banned

Published

on

Rosemary E Lunn, aka Roz Lunn, an Associate Member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and a SSI Platinum Diver recipient, is calling for support to get balloon and sky lantern releases banned.

I’ve been diving in and round the UK for over two decades. For several years, I along with many of my friends and colleagues, have known about the plastic pollution crisis – we routinely ‘dive against debris’ and take part in beach and seabed clean ups. And thanks to Blue Planet 2 the public are finally realising we have a problem.”

Positive things are happening. Microbeads now banned in some products in England and Scotland, and it looks as though plastic straws and plastic ear buds will be banned too. There is also a vigorous debate going on about one-time-use plastic packaging. However one piece of litter literally on the rise is debris from balloon and sky lantern releases.

Balloon releases are conducted to raise awareness – the sex of a baby, a wedding, a charity – or to pay respect to someone’s legacy. This is is ironic because it just creates sky litter that can kill, entangle or maim. Regrettably education only goes so far, hence we have seen the introduction of the sugar tax. Some people will still carry on releasing balloons and sky lanterns no matter how much or often you advise them it’s not good for animals or the environment.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about ‘biodegradable’ balloons. So many people think that if they use these balloons then that is ok, but sadly there is no such thing as an environmentally friendly latex balloon. They take fewer years to rot down, but they can still kill wild, farm and marine life before they decompose.

Dr. Lydia Uddstrom necropsy of a Green Sea Turtle having eaten Biodegradable balloon

A number of divers have been actively campaigning to get balloon releases banned, aw well as organisations including the Marine Conservation Society. Earlier this year many of us were pushing a petition asking the Government to ban balloon and sky lantern releases. It garnered 30,000 signatures very quickly. However DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) responded and ‘killed’ the momentum by stating “they considered the current regulatory regime, supported by existing information and guidance, effective and proportionate.”

Unfortunately DEFRA quoted from a Government Report http://bit.ly/2GcuEU0 – they had commissioned in 2013 to assess the impact and risks that balloons and sky lanterns have on livestock and the environment. In 2013 this environmental impact was judged as low. That was five years ago. Roz Lunn says she is now routinely picking balloon litter out of the hedges.

A new peer-reviewed study by Delia M. Webb has just been published that reveals 2,223 pieces of balloon litter were found on 39 beaches across Cornwall between July to December 2016. The study entitled “Just a balloon? A local study of the extent and impacts of balloon litter on beaches” has reported that some of the balloons found on Cornish beaches had travelled from other parts of the UK, Ireland and Europe.

We know that balloon litter and debris can kill and maim farm, wild and marine life. Ponies have been found choking to death, skeletons of dead birds are discovered entangled in balloon ribbon and turtles have starved to death having snacked on balloons thinking they were jelly fish. There really is no need for this mass littering.

Roz has therefore launched another balloon release petition asking Parliament to ban this anti-social practice. At the time of writing this the petition has received 29,485 signatures – see https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/215782. The Government’s response has been to effectively kick the can down the road by again referencing the 2013 study and saying everything is fine. We now have verified research that is no longer the case, and 70,000 signatures are needed by September, so that Parliament can consider debating this issue.

So please take a moment and sign the petition. Write to your MP and start making noises that balloon and sky lantern releases are bad. Together the voice of British scuba divers can make an environmental difference.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Competitions

WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!

Published

on

For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!

The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.

  • Material: 600 denier and 1,000 denier nylon/PVC
  • Soft roller bag, easily stored in its mesh bag
  • Internal retaining straps
  • Zip fastener with eyelets for padlocks
  • Side compartment for fins
  • Outer document pocket with coated zip and carry strap
  • Backpack style straps concealed behind the foam back-plate
  • Drainage vents
  • Red over-moulded wheels; detachable wheel block

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?

Is there:

  • A) 7,209
  • B) 7,532
  • C) 7,641

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Beuchat Air Light Bag December 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Beuchat and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 13/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
Continue Reading

Gear News

Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)

Published

on

How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.

In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.

Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Dive safe, dive often!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

More Less

Instagram Feed

Facebook Feed

Facebook Pagelike Widget

Popular