LAUNCHING a great cluster of balloons into the sky may be great fun and in aid of a great cause, but it has the potential for great harm.The balloons drift away in the wind and eventually disappear from view - but not from the environment.
By David Green
LAUNCHING a great cluster of balloons into the sky may be great fun and in aid of a great cause, but it has the potential for great harm.
The balloons drift away in the wind and eventually disappear from view - but not from the environment.
Most will burst, but whole balloons and balloon pieces will eventually float back down, causing problems for wildlife. Balloon litter floating at sea is deadly for many marine wildlife species.
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Marine turtles and some seabirds are particularly at risk as they feed on prey that floats at the surface.
They may mistake surface balloons for their jellyfish prey and swallow them, or become entangled and drown. Once swallowed, a balloon may block the digestive tract and eventually lead to death by starvation.
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Whales, dolphins and fish are also known to have died as a result of eating balloons.
Most materials used in balloon manufacture will eventually biodegrade. But however long it takes - and it could take six months - they are still deadly.
The Marine Conservation Society is organising a petition to have balloon releases banned under the Environment Protection Act.
Its annual Beachwatch survey has found a tripling of balloon debris found on beaches in recent years.
I VISITED the new Adnams distribution centre at Reydon for the first time recently and was impressed by the eco-thought that had gone into a building which uses a lot of natural materials and is, surely, at the cutting edge of environmentally sustainable development.
The walls are not made out of conventional blockwork but of a mixture of hemp, lime and chalk.
The roof is supported by huge, laminated softwood struts. Outside it has a layer of sedum - a low, moss-like plant - which provides excellent insulation, keeping the warehouse and its all important beer at a cool temperature.
Rainwater is collected from the roof and is used to wash the company's vehicles.
Although capital costs for the eco-building were 15% higher than for a conventional building, it uses very little energy and payback time will be relatively short. And then there is all the good publicity!
Jonathan Adnams, the present chairman, indicated that the company's board had initially taken some persuading to go down the eco route but he was sure it was the right decision - for the business and the environment.
I really hope that more companies will take a look round this building, examine the sums of money involved and consider a move in the same direction.
And no, I wasn't given a barrel of bitter to persuade me to say that!
An ATTEMPT may be made to put female wild boars “on the pill” to try to manage Britain's increasing population of the animals in the wild.
The beasts, once native in this country, have been farmed here for their meat since the 1980's but escapes have led to the establishment of sizeable feral populations in some parts of the country.
Now an experiment may be staged with a contraceptive vaccine.