Balloon use deflated

Towns in Norway say they will prohibit use of helium balloons during national day celebrations

helium balloons

Photo: Per from Norway / Flickr
Balloons released in a stadium in Norway in 2005.

The Local

A number of towns in Norway have said that they will prohibit the use of helium balloons during national day celebrations on May 17th, citing pollution.

A representative from Stavanger, one of the cities to ban floating balloons, said they do not fit with May 17th celebrations.

“We do not want helium balloons to be sold. There is too much littering [from them],” Stavanger May 17th committee leader Egil Olsen told broadcaster NRK.
Committees in Bergen, Haugesund, and Tromsø, as well as Stavanger, have all decided not to sell helium balloons in municipal areas on May 17th.

In Trondheim, the balloons will be allowed on the condition that they are not light enough to float away, Adresseavisen reports.
Oslo has yet to make a final decision.

“Helium balloons are completely unnecessary. They litter and use gas that is in short supply. There’s nothing wrong with using normal air in balloons,” Stavanger committee member Leif Arne Moi Nilsen told NRK.

The environmentalist Green party told the broadcaster it would like to see helium balloons banned nationally.

“Most people don’t like flying plastic litter. It would be crazy for any party not to support such a proposal,” the Green party’s Rasmus Hansson said.

But the director of a balloon-making business in Oslo had a different perspective: “It is not May 17th balloons that contribute to plastic pollution in Norway, rather plastic bottles and packaging. That is the plastic we should reduce,” Lisbet McCarroll of Balloon Company told NRK.

McCarroll’s business sold 13,000 balloons in connection with the national day last year, the broadcaster reports.

This article originally appeared in the May 4, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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