AS part of the celebrations, those attending the Gibraltar National Day rally which takes place on September 10 each year release balloons, which either float across the border or land in the sea.
It seems to be quite a harmless event – if perhaps irritating to the Spanish – but the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS) disagrees. So worried is GONHS by this event that they have written formally to both the government of Gibraltar and the Self-Determination for Gibraltar Group (SDGG) calling for this particular act of celebration to be banned.
Their argument is that the release of so many balloons is likely to be detrimental to the marine environment as the deflated balloons can be mistaken for food and can take from months to years to decay.
This is after positive attempts made previously to reduce the risk to the environment by introducing the most easily degradable balloons available. The SDGG has indicated that it intends to carry out a public consultation as to the majority view although this will not take place in time for the 2015 National Day Celebrations.
Time will tell whether national pride or fear for the environment will influence the final decision.