The Punggol Vista Community Centre is organising a countdown party on Dec 31 at the open field beside Punggol MRT station, right next to the Punggol Waterway. There will be a mass release of balloons at midnight to welcome the new year.
The practice poses a risk to wildlife.
Helium-filled balloons burst in the atmosphere and fall back to the earth in shreds, which are easily mistaken for food by marine creatures such as dolphins and turtles. If swallowed, the fragments may cause gut compaction and lead to a slow, painful death. Strings from handheld balloons also entangle birds and marine life.
As a Punggol resident and marine biologist, I would not want to see egrets, kites, kingfishers and shrikes at Punggol Waterway being entangled and endangered by balloons.
The mass release of balloons has been banned in several United States cities, parts of Britain and some Australian states.
I implore the organisers, as well as any organisation intending to release balloons to celebrate the new year, to reconsider their decisions. They can celebrate the occasion with alternatives such as bubble machines or light effects.
Cherh Kah Leng (Ms)
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