COLE BAY–Nature Foundation removed numerous balloons littering the ocean over the weekend.
The foundation had urged organizations, including St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation, which organized two balloon-related activities over the weekend, to find sustainable alternatives to using balloons for the two events.
The Foundation had also requested SCDF in October to limit the number of single-use plastics used in Festival Village this year, but never received a response. The foundation recorded a significant increase in plastic litter and debris from last year’s Carnival.
“While we, of course, are not certain if these balloons originated during the two balloon-related events over the weekend, we are still urging SCDF to not only make the celebration for 50 years of Carnival fun and exciting, but also sustainable and with minimal impact to our environment,” said Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.
Balloons are hazards when they enter the environment. All released balloons, whether they are released intentionally or not, return to earth as ugly litter – including those marketed as biodegradable latex. Balloons kill countless animals and are especially harmful to endangered sea turtle and bird species.
“It is very unfortunate that again we had to clean up dangerous, plastic material after we pleaded for alternatives to be used. The same occurred after the Heineken Regatta after water-balloons were used during one of the events,” said Bervoets.
“Many people, including the staff at Nature Foundation, look forward to celebrating fifty years of Carnival. But that celebration should not come at a cost to our natural environment and the various animals which will be killed by balloons and other single-use plastics,” said Bervoets.
The foundation urges SCDF “to do the right thing and move away from single-use plastics. We are also urging government and parliament to fast-track the proposed ban on single-use plastic items.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/86637-nature-foundation-cleans-up-balloons-littering-sea