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Creating sustainable communities for a better world.

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alvarokab
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KQB has developed a campaign calling for the prohibition of the release of helium balloons in the state of Queensland because of the threat to wildlife and source of litter forced into waterways. When deflated balloons are floating in waterways they can be ingested by marine life such as turtles, fish and dolphins. Despite being made from biodegradable latex, Balloons floating in the ocean can take up to 12 month to degrade.

Balloons have a devastating impact on wildlife and the environment. Helium balloons climb until the atmosphere and then slowly deflate falling on the land and in the vast oceans. This is the main reason why balloons is clearly considered litter. The Queensland government spends a considerable amount of money collecting a growing number of balloons off beaches, hiking trails and in the middle of the ocean. Balloons are often swallowed by turtles, birds, dolphins and whales getting lodged in the digestive tract and causing, in most of the cases, death. As a consequence, every year millions of animals die around the globe due to ingestion of balloons.

In addition, Helium is the second most abundant element in the planet but this is not a reason to continue wasting tons of this gas every year until our stock is at risk of burning out. Probably, in the future, our grandchildren will not believe that we have used such an important gas to fill balloons. For this reason, our community should not be wasting such a precious gas on non-essential purposes such as party decoration.

Unfortunately, the world’s reserve of helium is fast depleting and most experts are predicting that we will run out of the element within the next 25 to 40 years. Scientist warn that helium is becoming so scarce that its use in balloons has to be limited or stopped. Helium is used mostly in hospitals for keeping magnets cool in MRI scanners and is mixed with oxygen to aid the breathing of the seriously ill and newborn babies. It has been reported that the use of helium resources for filling party balloons constituted up to 10% of global helium consumption in 2009 (Wothers, Royal Institute Christmas lectures, 2012). For this reason, this element should be properly managed and only used for scientific and medical purposes.

The Canadian government no longer allows the release of balloons in public festivities and most of the states of the USA have also banned balloon release. European members have banned or put restriction on the sales and use of helium balloons. In Australia, NSW have also banned the release of the helium balloon in private festivities such as wedding or birthday parties and offenders are penalized with a $200 fine. Based on discussions with a number of governments that have already instigated a ban, it seems that this action has been most successful in preventing the well-known consequences of helium balloons.

Millions of balloons get released into the skies in many celebrations every year. This means that there are millions of deflated balloons littering the ocean floors and countryside throughout Australia and the rest of the world. The impressive visual impact of thousands of balloons being released into the sky may last a few minutes, but the impact on wildlife and the marine environment may last many months with potentially harmful and fatal consequences. Mass releases of balloons are a symbol of wasteful society, while smaller release and balloon races, result in a high number of litter that require different kind of resources to clean it up.

Also, we must therefore look for other ways to conserve this non-renewable resource. Helium cannot be made artificially and it is produced by separating it from natural gas. The scarcity of Helium is a really serious issue and once it is realized in the atmosphere it is gone forever. Helium supplies are limited and we should not be filling balloons with it and sending it into the atmosphere to be wasted when supplies are getting low.

KQB’s campaign have had an important impact, either in discouraging the release of helium balloons in Queensland or at least awareness of issues for consumers to take into account purchasing them. However, KQB aim to ban the release of helium balloons in Queensland with an appropriate penalty to ensure that the use of helium is minimized by citizens and controlled by the Queensland Government.

To get this important purpose, Keep Queensland Beautiful needs the support of our community to gather the most possible signatures in this E-Petition:

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petition?PetNum=2128

alvarokab
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Keep Queensland beautiful has been working to lead, challenge and inspire all Australians to strike for sustainable and litter free environment. One of the oldest campaign of this KQK is “No junk mail” that encourage Queenslanders to follow easy ways to reduce the distribution of this unsolicited mail.

How many resources are wasted to produce that unsolicited mail?

Globally, it is estimated that 100 million trees are harvested to produce junk mail each year. In Australia, Junk Mail constitutes a staggering 6 per cent of all paper used across the country representing 240,000 tonnes of paper a year. According to the Australian Catalog Association approximately 8 billions catalogs got delivered each year in Australia and only 20 per cent are read.

What the law says?

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (the Act) aims to ensure that advertising material is delivered responsibly and securely to persons willing to receive such material. The laws also aim to stop the material becoming waste or litter.

The Act introduces the following new obligations:

  1. Unsolicited advertising materials must be delivered securely in a mail box, slot or other place provided at the property for mail or newspapers or placed under a door of the premises.
  2. Unsolicited advertising material must not be delivered to premises that have a sign such as ‘no junk mail’, ‘Australia Post only’, or similar, displayed.
  3. Delivery of advertising material must not cause accumulations of waste.

It is an offence not to comply with these obligations, and fines range from $440 to $11,000. Compliance action may be taken against a publisher, distributor or deliverer of advertising material or unsolicited advertising material who is involved in breaching the responsible delivery obligations.

What can I do?

1) Place a “No junk mail” sticker on your letterbox if you don’t wish to receive uncatalogued and other unaddressed mail items. The Australian postal delivery officers are instructed not to deliver unaddressed mail to letterboxes with the signage.
Our Keep Queensland Beautiful sticker is available in the following link:
.

In addition, Buying the KQB stickers will help us to gather fund to promote our campaign and spread the word to create a more sustainable communities.

2) Register on the
(ADMA). 'If you are registered in ADMA, you will stop receiving Junk Mail from its member such as banks, insurance companies, publisher and charities.

3) Register for digital catalogs. In case that you wants to receive junk mail but don’t want your mailbox stuffed with things that your are not interested, get your catalog on digital format.

To reduce our impact on the environment we must identify and stop those practices that use natural, human and financial resources in an unsustainable manner. Unsolicited and intrusive advertising can be avoided following this easy steps that Keep Queensland Beautiful promote in its campaign “No junk mail”.

alvarokab

Professor of physics, Robert Richardson from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, won the 1996 Nobel prize for his work on superfluidity in helium, and has issued a warning the supplies of helium are being used at an unprecedented rate and could be depleted within a generation.

Professor Richardson warned the gas is not cheap because the supply is inexhaustible, but because of the Helium Privatisation Act passed in 1996 by the US Congress. The Act required the helium stores held underground near Amarillo in Texas to be sold off at a fixed rate by 2015 regardless of the market value, to pay off the original cost of the reserve. The Amarillo storage facility holds around half the Earth's stocks of helium: around a billion cubic meters of the gas. The US currently supplies around 80 percent of the world's helium supplies.

Richardson said it has taken 4.7 billion years for the Earth to accumulate our helium reserves, which we will have exhausted within about a hundred years of the US's National Helium Reserve having been established in 1925. The reserve is a collection of disused underground mines, pipes and vats extending over 300 km from north of Amarillo into Kansas. He warned that when helium is released to the atmosphere, in helium balloons for example, it is lost forever.

There is no chemical way of manufacturing helium, and the supplies we have originated in the very slow radioactive alpha decay that occurs in rocks. It costs around 10,000 times more to extract helium from air than it does from rocks and natural gas reserves.

Read more about this issue in the BBC article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19676639

alvarokab

Keep Australia Beautiful is committed to the development of activities and targeted campaigns to educate different sectors of the community to create sustainable communities adopting a wide range of strategies and plans to promote the waste minimization.

We have set up an on-line petition calling for the prohibition of the helium balloons in the state of Queensland because of the threat to wildlife and source of litter forced in waterways.

Helium is considered a non-renewable gas that is used mostly in hospitals.It is used in MRI scanners and is usually mixed with oxygen to make breathing easier for sick patients and can save newborn babies lives.

Helium is extracted from the earth's crust and there is a currently global shortage of this gas.The scarcity of Helium is a really serious issue and once it is realized in the atmosphere it is gone forever.

Also, balloons are a common source of litter found in waterways being a serious threat to marine and wildlife. When deflated balloons are floating in waterways they can be ingested by marine life such as turtles, fish and dolphins.

Despite of being made from biodegradable latex, Balloons floating in the ocean can take up to 12 month to degrade.

To get this important purpose, we need the support of our community to gather the most possible signatures in our E-Petition:

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petition?PetNum=2128

Thanks for your attention and collaboration.

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