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  • Joint letter to Chronicle from GONHS & the ESG on balloon release 100316

    Letter to Editor of the Gibraltar Chronicle 10th March 2016


    Dear Sir,

    Gibraltar’s sense of identity and nationhood are important.  They have helped us to endure stern tests and develop into this prosperous and highly educated community.  It is right that we should celebrate these together on National Day.


    In the past few years, Gibraltar has sought to position itself at the forefront of environmental best practice.  It is essential for Gibraltar’s standing in the international community that we are seen to be leaders in what is right.


    Unfortunately, the balloon release on National Day is impossible to defend.  It litters, pollutes and poses a threat to wildlife.  Some of us have been campaigning for years to find a more positive way in which we can celebrate this important day.


    Recently, this matter has attracted the attention of UN Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh, who is campaigning for an end to this practice.  His opinion piece in this newspaper is sensible and shows that he has both the environment and Gibraltar’s interests at heart.  We are encouraged by his approach and most grateful for his support.


    Lewis’s involvement highlights that the environment is a truly international concern.  We are vocal when others pollute our environment and we should seek to minimise our own impact on the planet.  Gibraltar should lead by example on this, just as we do on many other matters.  If we are seen to be wrong on this very visible issue, we run the risk of having our efforts on the environment undermined.  It will be easier, too, for our detractors to argue that we are wrong on much else.


    We urge the public and other organisations to support and join our campaign.  We are convinced that the balloon release will end in the short term.  Common sense and modern practices demand it.  Help us to bring that about.


    Ideas have always been an important currency in our community and Gibraltar has a large pool of creative people.  Indeed, it is the people that define Gibraltar, not the balloons.  Tell us what you would like to see the balloon release replaced with.


    Change will come soon.  Let us all play a part in it.  Let us show leadership and celebrate our identity responsibly and sustainably.


    Yours sincerely,


    GONHS Council                   ESG Committee