Davis defends decision to release balloons
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that he does not regret releasing several dozen balloons into the air during the Labour Day parade as it was not enough to harm the environment.
The government has announced a ban of single-use plastics to begin in 2020.
“I don’t say that I regret the decision because it was not an overwhelming number of balloons and we didn’t think that the amount that was released would have caused any impact or harm to the environment,” Davis said.
He added, “I do appreciate the concern that has been expressed…
“It was to symbolize our concern and to demonstrate that we are still keeping the families and the departed in our prayers, and we made sure that there were not that many balloons. One has to weigh what was released into the air. It was not that overwhelming but rather just to mark the display.
“I do appreciate the concerns expressed. I think those concerns could be mitigated by the fact that we did not release millions of balloons in the air per se, but just a very minimal amount.”
ReEarth, a local environmental group, criticized the move in a Facebook post on Friday.
“With The Bahamas on the brink of going plastic free this was a terrible decision by the PLP,” it said.
The release of balloons is illegal in several U.S. states.
Environmentalists regard balloons as environmentally hazardous, and harmful to wildlife. Concerns have been raised over balloons ending up in the ocean and endangering animals that mistake them for food.
While Davis said yesterday that he believed the balloons released were biodegradable, he could not speak to the issue specifically.
“They should have been,” he said.
“I’m advised they should have been. I cannot speak to it specifically, but I know that was the intent, to have biodegradable balloons.”
Even if the balloons were labeled as biodegradable, however, many environmentalists have noted that they can still cause significant harm to wildlife, as it can take months or even years for them to decompose.
Davis assured that in the future, the environment will be taken into consideration in the decisions of the party.
“Whatever we do in the future, we will always have regards to the environment,” he said.