AC Pledge No More Balloons After “BalloonGate”

September 4, 2015

After a social media post showing balloons being released at the recent America’s Cup event in Sweden resulted in a slew of complaints, the America’s Cup said they “regret” the balloon release, and have “put processes in place with all future local organizing committees to ensure this will not happen again.”

The issue — which some of the sailing and environmental media have dubbed Balloongate — began when the America’s Cup posted a video on social media showing the balloons being released, with the video resulting in an avalanche of complaints.

The video prompted over 200 responses, with the majority appearing to be negative. One person said, “Who are the idiots in charge of ACEA???? I am sure the sponsors love to be associated with uneccessarily polutting the environment…..Wow. You cant make this stuff up….. Seriously.”

“With all the ocean pollution and sea birds & turtles consuming & dying after eating balloons…why are you doing this? Have you lost your collective minds?” fumed another person.

“So sad. There is no beauty or celebration in littering,” said another person. “We should expect every individual to see the pact of littering, but especially those who utilize the ocean for their passions. Absolutely heartbreaking to see things like this and to see them as if it’s glorious.”

Screenshot from the video the AC posted showing the balloons being released:

ballgate screenshots 2

In a blog post, Sailors From The Sea said, “This is an embarrassing time for all sailors when the management of our most important grand prix event chooses to ignore its obligation to protect the waters upon which we pursue our passion.

“The recent lax environmental oversight of the 35th America’s Cup Event Authority has damaged the reputation of this hallowed institution.

“After achieving the highest honor possible during the 34th Cup for implementing environmental sustainability best practices, it is surprising that the organizers would pollute the ocean by releasing balloons in Gothenburg.

“What goes up must come down. Sea turtles, whales, birds and 267 other sea creatures are known to have suffered from ingestion or entanglement from plastic debris in the ocean.

“Researchers from Queensland recently found that in one study, 78% of the plastic recovered from a sample of sea turtles came from eating balloons.”

In response, the ACEA said, “On Friday afternoon, as part of the opening activities of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg, the event agency of the local host released balloons from the Kids Zone of the Event Village.

“According to the local agency, the balloons were made from natural latex and designed for this kind of public release activity as the natural latex biodegrades in sunlight and seawater.

“But the America’s Cup Event Authority agrees that even with these precautions, a balloon release should not have happened. We will put processes in place with all future local organizing committees to ensure this will not happen again.

“The America’s Cup has worked hard over the past several years to minimize its impact on the environment. This was a step backward by one of our local partners and one that both we at the America’s Cup Event Authority and the local partner regret.”

americas cup click here 2

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Category: All, Environment, News

Comments (10)

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  1. J Starling says:

    Good to read this.

    I think we should even consider banning them on island completely. There’s less harmful alternatives.

  2. JCS says:

    This is probably the first time I’ve agreed with something you said!!

  3. webster says:

    If ACEA cares so little for the environment, how do we know those super-fast boats aren’t shredding sea turtles in Great Sound? Just more collateral damage? Nothing to see, move on.

    • Umm says:

      Yeah, let’s ban boats in Bermuda, let’s ban the fast ferries , jet skis and even people that swim fast….seriously? Everybody’s an activist…take a break

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    If only Bermuda could take action on something so quickly. But no, in Bermuda the pettiest thing has to studied & talked to death so as not to hurt any feelings before any action is taken.