The number of municipalities that prohibit balloon deployments has risen sharply in recent months, according to research by Stichting De Noordzee and the television program De Monitor on KRO-NCRV on Saturday. A third (119 out of 355) of the municipalities in the Netherlands have such a ban.
112 municipalities discourage the release of balloons, but do not prohibit the festivities. The other municipalities do not have a balloon policy or do not mention this on their website, the study shows.
In March, another 59 municipalities banned the release of balloons. The researchers therefore speak of a doubling compared to six months ago.
The North Sea Foundation started a campaign one and a half years ago against the release of balloons. At that time, only 5 percent of the municipalities applied a ban. According to the foundation, balloons have a negative impact on nature and the environment. For example, animals can regard the balloons for food or get caught in the balloon ribbons.
Large cities prohibit the release of balloons
Municipalities may choose to introduce such a prohibition themselves. There is no national policy on the release of balloons. In all cities, the General Local Regulation (APV) must be amended to ban balloons.
All four major cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) now prohibit the release of balloons. There are differences per province. For example, in Friesland and Groningen there are many more municipalities with a ban than Limburg and Overijssel.
More than three thousand balloon remains on Dutch beaches
"More needs to be done," says project leader Marijke Boonstra of the De Noordzee Foundation. During the annual Beach Cleanup Tour in August, during which thousands of volunteers clean up waste on all Dutch beaches, people picked up 3,276 balloon remains.
Prohibiting the release of balloons does not have to spoil the fun. According to Boonstra, municipalities can opt for alternatives, such as launching kites or using bubble blowing.
The Monitor can be seen on NPO2 on Sunday at 10.40 p.m.
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