The owners of Eastbourne’s Arndale Centre have cancelled plans to give out balloons at the launch of the Beacon this week after environmentalists raised concerns.
The multi-million pound shopping centre extension will be officially launched on Friday (November 30), with five new shops opening.
Organisers Legal and General originally told this newspaper a promotional team would be in The Beacon giving out branded balloons and goodie bags – but this caused some upset.
Reacting, Eastbourne Friends of the Earth said on Twitter, “We call upon [Legal and General] not to use balloons in its launch of #Beacon shopping mall in #Eastbourne, which is trying to make town #plasticfree with support from @EastbourneBC. Balloons harm #wildlife and end up on local beaches. Please join #PlasticFreeEastbourne coalition instead!”
And Twitter user Sue Robinson said, “PLEASE stop The Beacon releasing balloons at its opening next week. The threat and damage to the environment is just not worth a few moments of ‘fun’.”
To which Legal and General replied, “Hi – the team have confirmed they’re not releasing balloons at The Beacon launch, thanks.”
A spokesperson for the company, which owns the Arndale and has funded the £85 million extension, confirmed to the Herald the balloons plan had been snipped.
It is believed cupcakes will be handed out in their place.
Oliver Sterno of Plastic Free Eastbourne said he was pleased balloons had been axed from the launch.
He explained why they are considered so damaging to the environment, “Beach litter surveys have shown the amount of balloons and balloon pieces found on the beach have tripled in the past 10 years.
“A recent report has ranked balloons as one of the top three deadliest forms of litter, only behind discarded fishing nets and plastic bags.
“That’s because when balloons burst, the fragments can look very similar to jellyfish or other prey that animals like sea turtles eat.
“The ribbons can also become wrapped around animals as they swim in the water, which may hinder their ability to move or eat freely.”
To find out more about Plastic Free Eastbourne, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for the website