SUWON, Dec. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — The local government of Gyeonggi Province said Tuesday it will ban cities and counties from holding balloon-flying events starting at the end of this year, due to concerns about environmental harm caused by balloons.
People often fly balloons at the year-end or in the new year to express their wishes, as balloons are a relatively inexpensive way to spur a festive mood.
But balloons that end up on land or sea can pollute the environment. Wild animals eat balloon fragments that they mistake for food, facing health risks or sometimes being killed.
The provincial government said it plans to impose an outright ban on the use of balloons at outdoor activities, organized by the 31 cities and counties under its jurisdiction and its affiliate organizations.
The measure will take effect starting at the end of this year.
The provincial government said it will encourage civic groups to join the drive and ask the Ministry of Environment to help apply the campaign across the country.
“We will actively promote the campaign to encourage social groups, companies and schools to refrain from using balloons,” a local government official said.
South Korea has no regulations that restrict outdoor activities using balloons.
At a festival in 1986 in Cleveland, Ohio, around 1.5 million helium-filled balloons were released as a fundraising event. The balloons caused traffic problems and affected the operation of an airport.
They also hampered U.S. Coast Guard’s efforts to find two missing boaters who were later found drowned.