Politics

To: The children of Mount Anville School,
Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan, County Dublin.
14 May, 2009

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & (01) 2832373


Dear Children of Mount Anville School;

We are very sorry if you are unhappy today because you had planned a fund raising event with balloons which we stopped!

We hope you will understand that environmental groups all over the world are joining together to prevent the release of balloons into our environment.

While many of these balloons do fragment high in the skies, some will always come down on land or sea. Science has shown that these balloons can and have killed animals - like turtles.

 


While we are not against balloons at all, we support the Marine Conservation Council's campaign to DON'T LET GO - enjoy balloons but make sure that they end up in the bin, not in the oceans!

To help make up for your disappointment, we have asked the World Wildlife Fund to send an injured turtle to a rehabilitation centre in your school's name.

This means that a turtle that has been injured - by for example eating a balloon instead of a jellyfish - will be cared for in a unique rehabilitation centre in Indonesia. When you send a turtle to rehab it gives sea turtles in Indonesia, and around the world, a better chance of survival.

If we had enough money we would have liked to let your school name a real sea turtle on which the World Wildlife Fund puts a satellite tracker. They then let the turtle back out to sea with webpage where you can track where it travels. Other turtles have been tagged in South American and tracked all the way to Africa!

We very much like your website with its pictures of how ‘We've Gone Green!' and hope you will look at other websites that show you how we can keep the whole world clean and green.

With best wishes,

All at Friends of the Irish Environment

See about the World Wildlife Funds work for turtles:
http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/species/our_solutions/endangered_species/marine_turtles/index.cfm

Ref: From: WWF - World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund) Merchant's cart ID: WWF Int. Gift 2006 - Send a Turtle to Rehab Authorisation Date/Time: 13/May/2009 20:44:46 RBS WorldPay's transaction ID: 813407342
http://assets.panda.org/custom/wwf_gift/cert/cert3DBE1E06-AC94-F589-C76BFEB8F00113C7.pdf

 

Friends of the Irish Environment have written to a Dublin primary school in an attempt to stop the growing trend of schools using mass balloon releases for fund raising.

On May 14 Mount Anville Primary School in Stillorgan plans to release thousands of balloons as part of their fund raising activities.Each student gets a sales sheet and tries to sell as many balloons as possible. The balloons are tagged with a message asking the finder to return the label. Prizes are given to the buyer and seller of the balloon.

Balloons become 'marine debris', a lethal hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.

Press Release  |  Letter to school  |  Letter to Minister  | Irish Independent coverage

Ryan Tuberdy and FIE discuss balloons as an environmental hazard at the time of President McAleese releasing baloons in a 2005 controversy.

 


PRESS RELEASE

FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT

THURSDAY 8 MAY 2009

 

SCHOOL BALLOON RELEASES CRITICIZED

 

Friends of the Irish Environment have written to a Dublin primary school in an attempt to stop the growing trend of schools using mass balloon releases for fund raising.

 

On May 14 Mount Anville Primary School in Stillorgan plans to release thousands of balloons as part of their fund raising activities.

 

Each student gets a sales sheet and tries to sell as many balloons as possible. The balloons are tagged with a message asking the finder to return the label. Prizes are given to the buyer and seller of the balloon.

 

It has been well established since a Canadian marine conference in 1989 that the release of gas filled balloons is an environmental hazard.

 

Balloons become 'marine debris', a lethal hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.

 

The group previously tried to prevent President Mary McAleese partaking in a memorial balloon release in 2005. ASt the time Environment Minister Dick Roche refused to prohibit mass balloon releases.

 

San Francisco is one of many US coastal authorities to have banned the practice, and Britain's Marine Conservation Society supports similar measures.

 

The group has also written to John Gormley, the current Minister for the Environment, seeking to have him reexamine his predecessor's decision and ensure that students in particular are made aware of the established environmental damage done by these increasing popular school fund raisers.

 

Verification: Tony Lowes 027 73131 / 087 2176316

Mount Anville Primary School 01-2831148

 

Letter to school

http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/friendswork/index.php?do=friendswork&action=view&id=767

 

Letter to Minister

http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/friendswork/index.php?do=friendswork&action=view&id=768

 

The 2005 controversy over President McAlesse's balloon release

http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/friendswork/index.php?do=friendswork&action=view&id=503

Ms. Grainne McGowan, Principal,
Mount Anville Primary School,

Lower Kilmacud Road,

Stillorgan,

Co. Dublin

5 May 2009

 

 

Dear Ms. McGowan;

 

We were greatly disturbed to hear of your school's proposed use of a balloon release to raise funds planned for Thursday, 14th May, 2009.

 

We are aware of the vendor's claim that balloons are ‘biodegradable' and ‘self combust within a month'.

 

In fact, gas filled balloons can travel great distances. As you note, the return of balloons from other such Dublin school releases have come from as far away as Norway. On land even in fragments spent balloons will undoubtedly become litter, and as I am sure you teach your pupils, littering is an offense under the Acts.

 

While the industry claims that 95% of the balloons burst into harmless fragments at heights up to five miles above the sea, in fact 5% - 10% don't. Balloons exposed floating in seawater deteriorated much slower than those exposed in air, and even after 12 months still retained their elasticity with potential consequences to marine life. These can become 'marine debris', a lethal hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.

 

All of theses species have been reported with balloons in their stomachs. All seven species of marine turtle are near extinction and many turtles of two species in particular, the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtle, have been found with balloons in their intestines. Ingestion of balloons and plastic debris can cause internal damage and prevent animals from feeling hungry, leading to starvation. Even ribbons and strings tied to balloons can lead to entanglement.

 

Since a Canadian marine conference first brought this and related wildlife risks to notice in 1989, the mass release of balloons at public and corporate events has been increasingly controversial. San Francisco is one of many US coastal authorities to have banned the practice, and Britain's Marine Conservation Society supports similar measures. As an Island nation, should we not be teaching the value of and respect for our marine heritage?

 

We hope you will rethink your proposed balloon release and use this opportunity to ensure that your students are made aware of the environmental consequences of their actions at their early and formative age.

 

Sincerely yours,


Tony Lowes


 

 

PRESS RELEASE

FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT

WEDNESDAY 7 MAY 2009

 

SCHOOL BALLOON RELEASES CRITICIZED

 

Friends of the Irish Environment have written to a Dublin primary school in an attempt to stop the growing trend of schools using mass balloon releases for fund raising.

 

On May 14 Mount Anville Primary School in Stillorgan plans to release thousands of balloons as part of their fund raising activities.

 

Each student gets a sales sheet and tries to sell as many balloons as possible. The balloons are tagged with a message asking the finder to return the label. Prizes are given to the buyer and seller of the balloon.

 

It has been well established since a Canadian marine conference in 1989 that the release of gas filled balloons is an environmental hazard.

 

Balloons become 'marine debris', a lethal hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.

 

The group previously tried to prevent President Mary McAleese partaking in a memorial balloon release in 2005. ASt the time Environment Minister Dick Roche refused to prohibit mass balloon releases.

 

San Francisco is one of many US coastal authorities to have banned the practice, and Britain's Marine Conservation Society supports similar measures.

 

The group has also written to John Gormley, the current Minister for the Environment, seeking to have him reexamine his predecessor's decision and ensure that students in particular are made aware of the established environmental damage done by these increasing popular school fund raisers.

 

Verification: Tony Lowes 027 73131 / 087 2176316

Mount Anville Primary School 01-2831148

 

Ryan Tubberdy and FIE discuss balloons as an environmental hazard at the time of the 2005 controversy

http://friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/friendswork/index.php?action=view&id=505

 

John Gormley, TD,

Minister for the Environment,

Customs House, Dublin

7 May, 2009                                      By email only: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Re: Balloon releases from Irish schools

 

Dear Minister;

 

We write seeking your support to end a growing practice in Dublin schools of using gas filled balloons in mass releases to raise funds.

 

Primary schools provide their students with balloons for sale, each of which is tagged with the student's identification. There are then prizes for the students who sold the balloon that went furthest - presumably intact - and for the person returning it.

 

Vendor's claim that balloons are ‘biodegradable' and ‘self combust within a month' and that ‘95% of the balloons burst into harmless fragments at heights up to five miles above the sea'.

 

In fact balloons in seawater deteriorate much slower than those exposed in air, and even after 12 months still retain their elasticity with potential consequences to marine life.  5% - 10% become 'marine debris', a lethal hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for squid or other natural prey.

 

The school to which we are writing now [letter attached] reports that one Dublin school reported reaching as far abroad as Norway. They speak of the ‘spectacular event' and the ‘amazing' sight of ‘several thousand' balloons released during similar events at other schools.

 

Since a Canadian marine conference first brought this and related wildlife risks to notice in 1989, the mass release of balloons at public and corporate events has been increasingly controversial. San Francisco is one of many US coastal authorities to have banned the practice, and Britain's Marine Conservation Society supports similar measures.

 

At the time of a mass balloon release by Mary McAleese in 2005, Trevor Sargent sought to have the then environmental Minister, Dick Roche, ban these releases. While the Minister agreed in a written parliamentary reply that ‘there have been reports of marine animals found with balloons in their stomachs', he went on to say that he understood that ‘balloons form an extremely small percentage of potentially hazardous marine debris' and so it was ‘not proposed at present to introduce legislation prohibiting the mass release of balloons.' [23875/05]

 

In fact, a study on Cape Cod, on the eastern United States seaboard, reported balloons as the fourth most numerous item in its survey of marine debris. If Dublin schools continue this practice, there is no doubt that Ireland will contribute further to the problem.

 

We would hope you would reexamine your predecessor's decision and ensure that students in particular are made aware of the established environmental damage done by these increasingly popular school fund raisers.

 

Respectfully yours,

 

Tony Lowes


 

PRESS RELEASE

FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT

WEDNESDAY 7 MAY 2009

 

SCHOOL BALLOON RELEASES CRITICIZED

 

Friends of the Irish Environment have written to a Dublin primary school in an attempt to stop the growing trend of schools using mass balloon releases for fund raising.

 

On May 14 Mount Anville Primary School in Stillorgan plans to release thousands of balloons as part of their fund raising activities.

 

Each student gets a sales sheet and tries to sell as many balloons as possible. The balloons are tagged with a message asking the finder to return the label. Prizes are given to the buyer and seller of the balloon.

 

It has been well established since a Canadian marine conference in 1989 that the release of gas filled balloons is an environmental hazard.

 

Balloons become 'marine debris', a lethal hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.

 

The group previously tried to prevent President Mary McAleese partaking in a memorial balloon release in 2005. ASt the time Environment Minister Dick Roche refused to prohibit mass balloon releases.

 

San Francisco is one of many US coastal authorities to have banned the practice, and Britain's Marine Conservation Society supports similar measures.

 

The group has also written to John Gormley, the current Minister for the Environment, seeking to have him reexamine his predecessor's decision and ensure that students in particular are made aware of the established environmental damage done by these increasing popular school fund raisers.

 

Verification: Tony Lowes 027 73131 / 087 2176316

Mount Anville Primary School 01-2831148

 

Letter to school

http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/friendswork/index.php?do=friendswork&action=view&id=767

 

Letter to Minister

 

 

Ryan Tubberdy and FIE discuss balloons as an environmental hazard at the time of the 2005 controversy

http://friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/friendswork/index.php?action=view&id=505

The Irish Independent's columnist Kevin Myers wielded his pen to mock Eamon Ryan's refusal of uranium prospecting licenses, claiming in his rant that it was the ‘logic of the kindergarten' and that ‘more than that I cannot, say, simply because I have no words to describe my feelings'. He was therefore ‘utterly incapable of framing a reaction to the welcome given the Minister's decision by Friends of the Irish Environment, that "it marked the advent of a non-hypocritical energy regime".

FIE's reply went unpublished, but it is alleged to be widely circulating in the Irish Independent offices.

"He has ‘no words to describe his feelings'. Aha. That would be nice. But it is not to be so..."

Read the exchange...