‘Lethal’ balloons banned in tourist hotspot

Little girl running with balloons on the beach
Byron Bay Council is banning balloons and other single-use party items.

Party staples such as balloons, confetti, streamers and tinsels will be banned in one of Australia’s most popular tourist spots.

Byron Bay Council in northern NSW will forbid the use of balloons and other single-use decorations in all council areas, such as parks, beaches and other public spaces.

Byron Bay mayor Michael Lyon said this action was needed to protect sea birds and marine life, reduce the litter in open spaces and beaches, and minimise landfill.

“We know that balloons are one (of the) most lethal types of debris impacting Australian Seabirds and other marine life, including turtles who eat burst balloons because they look like jelly fish,” Mr Lyon told 9News.

Byron Bay’s beaches are a popular place for residents and tourists. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Robinson

“If balloons and party decorations are ending up in our oceans and waterways and causing harm to our precious marine life, we have to take strong and immediate action to stop this happening.

“It’s what our community expects and it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”

The ban covers all balloons such as biodegradable, latex, helium and water balloons. It also includes any plastic disks, ribbons and strings attached to balloons.

In January 2023, the nearby Tweed Shire Council introduced a similar ban.

Little girl running with balloons on the beach
The council has offered suggestions for alternatives to balloons for people celebrating in public places. Supplied

Confetti, glitter, streamers and tinsel are also affected by the ban, along with glow sticks and party poppers.

As it’s balloons and single-use decorations that are banned, the council has offered alternatives for people to use as party decorations.

They include


Plants and flowers.

Fairy lights, festoons and lanterns.

Bubbles, kites, pinwheels and ribbon wands.

Chalkboards, artwork or paintings.

Leaf and flower confetti.