Thursday, 4 July 2013

Call for Chinese lantern ban is growing

Whoever thought Chinese lanterns were a good idea? - Defra
July 2013. Chinese lanterns have made headline news recently after one started a vast fire in the West Midlands needed 200 fire fighters to put it out and caused £6 million worth of damage. 

However Wildlife Extra first called for them to be banned in 2011 as, apart from being a blatantly obvious fire risk, they also litter the countryside and can cause a threat to wildlife, much like balloon releases.

Balloon releases
There have been calls for banning balloon releases for years as they litter the countryside and pose a risk to wildlife, especially marine life, where birds and sea turtles have been killed by swallowing balloons (which look like jellyfish, part of a turtles diet) or getting caught up in the ties attached to balloons. But Chinese lanterns have proved more dangerous in a number of ways.

Wildlife. There have been several cases recorded of wildlife being killed by these lanterns, including an owl that was caught inside a lantern in Sussex.

Fires. Goes without saying, as was illustrated so terribly just recently with the massive fire in the West Midlands

Litter. Whatever they are made of, they will litter the countryside. We estimate that as many as 8 millions lanterns and 50 million helium filled balloons are released every year in the UK alone.

Coastguards. Apparently, there have been increasing numbers of emergency call outs for the coastguard as lanterns have been mistaken for distress flares. They can also pose a risk to planes near airports.

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