Action 6 - Condemn the creation of air-borne litter
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Copy of e-mail sent to Guinness World Records about record-breaking lantern release

World record sky lantern release

Dear Guinness World Records,

It is with huge disappointment that we read this morning of the release of 15,185 lanterns into the sky in the Philippines:

That the popularity and incidence of the release of sky lanterns and balloons is increasing is evidenced by the growing amount of the remnants of such activity being encountered across the countryside and along the world's shorelines and also by the higher frequency of conflagrations attributable to the former. Both of these activities create litter and do damage to wildlife. The release of balloons also wastes the scarce resource of helium.

Of course, such releases, in the name of fund-raising, commemoration, celebration or promotion, are most photogenic and consequently get reported widely by the press. This serves only to make such activities appear more acceptable and popularises them, thus leading to a vicious cycle of further releases.

Sadly your involvement in this record-breaking attempt has done much to perpetuate this process.

We are all members of this global village called planet Earth and what one person does in one place can affect another many miles away.

Consequently, and for the good of humanity and our ecosystem, we would very much appreciate Guinness World Records publicly stating that it is to withdraw support for and recognition of world records that involve damage to the environment.

We would not go as far as to demand an apology for your involvement in this incident, but be assured that should further records be attempted that result in such damage, we will work to take whatever actions are available to us to seek restitution.

Yours sincerely,

Zilch UK

BCC: Marine Conservation Society UK
     Balloons Blow

 6) Condemn the creation of air-borne litter

Whatever goes up, eventually and inevitably comes down and becomes litter. The release of chinese lanterns or helium balloons may look pretty for a brief moment but the consequences of such irresponsible action can be devastating.

Yes, the balloons explode a high altitude so instead of getting just on piece of litter you get many and the lanterns are supposedly biodegradable but the aluminium capsules that hold the wax and the fine wires that hold them are not.

The WI are considering a campaign and the report to Defra by the WFU (PDF) makes clear how damaging and dangerous they are.

South West conservation-minded farmer, Simon Pain, who has made a DVD of the wildlife on his farm, was shocked to discover the remains of a barn owl entangled in a Chinese lantern. He believes the bird had been hunting on a field margin when it became ensnared:

Dead owl tangled in lantern

They don't look so pretty when they come down. Here's a page that describes the evidence against balloon releases

Deflated party balloons

An eco-friendly alternative to a Balloon Release - the Virtual Baloon Release

Have three cheers and on each cheer have everyone raise their arms to the sky.

On the last cheer, as well as raising their arms to the sky everyone keeps their arms up and gazes upwards to consider the what's being celebrated.

The challenge is then to see who lasts the longest in this position.

The final person to have their arms raised is then given a hearty clap when they are unable to hold their arms up any longer.

This would be good for the soul and for everyone's health!

Of course, people could still be holding their balloons, just as long as they weren't to let them go!

Tell what you have done to condemn aerial litter by sending an e-mail to: