Earth Day 2017: Dive Point’s Plastic Pledge

Matthias Breit, Regina Rinkenburger, Dive Point, Red Sea Diving, scuba diving Hurghada, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving stories, diving PR, Earth Day
A Dive Point day-boat heading home following a day's diving in the Red Sea

Dive Point, a recreational and technical diving centre based in Hurghada, Egypt has made a plastic pledge to coincide with this year’s Earth Day, by permanently reducing their onboard plastic waste.

UNESCO, John McConnell, Matthias Breit, Regina Rinkenburger, Dive Point, Red Sea Diving, scuba diving Hurghada, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving stories, diving PR, Earth Day
Dive Point's new water drinking fountain contains 19 litres of water, ensuring that the guests don't use 31 small plastic bottles

In 1969 at a UNESCO conference John McConnell proposed that an annual day be put in place to support and promote environmental protection. The first ‘Earth Day’ was held on the first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere) on 21st March 1970. The date later moved to 22nd April.

“We are always looking at ways to recycle and we wanted to mark Earth Day in a positive manner”, stated Regina Rinkenburger, Dive Point’s Operation Manager. In some countries, such as Germany and Canada it is really easy to recycle. In Egypt it can be more challenging, therefore we need to be cleverer with our waste.

We have found that recycling plastic is not a simple process; hence we must put in place as many ways as we can to reduce our plastic use. This week we have installed 19 litre water fountains on our dive boats. Each fountain is the equivalent of 31 small plastic bottles of water. Guests are welcome to fill their water containers as many times as they like. These fountains have already made a huge difference to the amount of plastic waste coming off our boats.”

 

Better Balloon Release News

What a great way to start the week. We have three pieces of positive #BalloonRelease news!

As March drew to a close we talked to the British magazine Horse & Hound about the Marine Conservation Society's online pledge. The MCS is actively urging people to sign their pledge to help the charity create an interactive map, to show support for balloon release bans around the UK.

As you can see in the news cutting below, we are delighted that news of the MCS #BalloonRelease Pledge made it into Horse & Hound.

"The Marine Conservation Society launched a campaign on 22 March, calling on people to lobby the councils to ban balloon and lantern releases, as it has seen the harm they cause to sea and shore life."

TUMC's Roz Lunn was also quoted in this article.

'Rosemary Lunn, who works in communications in the diving industry, pointed out that Helium is a finite resource and is needed for vital work in medicine. "Times have moved on and ideas need to change", she said.' 

Compassionate-Friends, Australia, Marine-Conservation-Society, Poundbakery, Bolton Bakery, mass balloon release, Keely Palin, young-horse-panicked-by-helium-balloon-suffers-broken-neck, environmental littering, MCS, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Horse-and-Hound-Magazine,
An Australian bereavement support group - the 'Compassionate Friends' - releasing balloons on 1 February 2016 at Kingston Park Coastal Reserve

The second piece of good news comes from Australia and concerns a support group called 'The Compassionate Friends'. This group helps bereaved parents and siblings by providing opportunities for families to come together. One of TCF SA's key events is an annual balloon release. This year's event was due to be held on Sunday 23rd April.

It should be stated that TCF SA did not understand the impact of 'environmentally friendly' latex balloons until No Balloon Release Australia advised them according.

After learning the facts, a committee member of TCF SA and an organiser of the balloon release event confirmed that the group would immediately look into an environmentally friendly alternative event to replace the balloon release.

"Our information previously had been that by using supposedly biodegradable balloons, our event was safe for the environment. We're saddened to know this is not the case.

It seems we are harming the environment by releasing balloons – this is certainly not our intention - so the committee will revise the plans for the event and come up with another way to acknowledge our precious children."

Well done to all concerned.

Compassionate-Friends, Australia, Marine-Conservation-Society, Poundbakery, Bolton Bakery, mass balloon release, Keely Palin, young-horse-panicked-by-helium-balloon-suffers-broken-neck, environmental littering, MCS, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company

And finally an update on last week's Poundbakery balloon release.

Earlier today Poundbakery released the following statement via social media.

"We at Poundbakery are incredibly sorry for last week’s balloon release PR stunt. Whilst we did use biodegradable materials, we did not realise that these materials could still have such a negative impact on the environment and wildlife. We were both naive and ignorant of the devastation this can cause, which is why we would like to donate £1000 to an environmental charity. We are currently in the process of looking for a local north west based charity and will update you all when we have found the right one."

Thank you Poundbakery for listening.

Bolton's 'Poundbakery' PR Balloon Blunder

Did you hear the one about Poundbakery, who thought it would be a fab idea to potentially maim and kill wildlife, whilst wantonly littering the Greater Manchester area?

Probably not.

It is quite possible however that you read about the bakery releasing 500 helium balloons, containing free sandwich vouchers in Bolton, as a PR stunt.

Poundbakery, Bolton Bakery, mass balloon release, Keely Palin, young-horse-panicked-by-helium-balloon-suffers-broken-neck, environmental littering, MCS, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
"The sky is the limit with this campaign and we can't wait to see where the balloons end up." Keely Palin, Marketing Manager, Poundbakery Bolton

This ill conceived stunt, along with Poundbakery's Marketing Manager, Keely Palin, certainly both deserve an entry in this year's PR Hall of Shame.

Barely 20 days ago, on 20th March, Horse and Hound reported that a young horse ran through a gate, broke two of her legs and then her neck after choking on a helium balloon that had landed in her field.

Keely Palin told The Bolton News on 7th March 2017, "The sky is the limit with this campaign and we can't wait to see where the balloons end up."

Whilst Bolton and Greater Manchester are not known for their turtle population, it is a shame that Ms Palin seems to have not yet grasped that the environment needs to be positively accounted for when planning and executing every piece of PR.

At present the Marine Conservation Society is urging the public to back the banning of all balloon releases.

Currently over 50 UK local authorities including Cornwall County, Durham, Monmouthshire, Worcestershire etc, have agreed to implement a ban on balloon and lantern releases on their land.

Poundbakery, Bolton Bakery, mass balloon release, Keely Palin, young-horse-panicked-by-helium-balloon-suffers-broken-neck, environmental littering, MCS, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Richard Gilbert, dead guillemot
A dead Guillemot entangled in a fence by a balloon

After releasing the 500 balloons, Poundbakery proudly posted the following statement on their Facebook page.

"As promised, here’s the video of the balloon release…we can confirm that the balloons (complete with FREE LUNCH vouchers) headed South East, towards Yorkshire and Manchester. However, with the British weather, they could be anywhere by now. Keep a lookout and post any pictures of the balloons in the sky…happy hunting!"

https://www.facebook.com/Poundbakery/videos/1575718182462203/

Poundbakery is encouraging everyone to tweet a photo of themselves with their Poundbakery voucher to @poundbakery with the hashtag #FreeLunch and #GoLarge. Alternatively you could always email Poundbakery with your views on balloon releases.

The hashtags for the campaign to stop balloon releases include #Pollution, #Litter, #BalloonsBlow, #Wildlife and #DontLetGo

So Ms Keely Palin. Here's a piece of advice. A bad publicity stunt is memorable for all the wrong reasons, so here is a chance to make it right.

  • Organise a Poundbakery sponsored beach clean
  • Donate funds to the Marine Conservation Society to help them educate others who don't understand just how damaging balloon releases can be
  • Sign the MCS's pledge to help the charity ban balloon releases
  • And how about feeding 500 homeless people? One for every balloon you released!

Now has anyone got Bolton Council's telephone number to get them to ban balloon releases?