College celebration goes balloon-free

Bermuda College will go balloon-free in the name of the environment at its commencement ceremony today.

Balloons have been an integral part of the college’s decorations and have been popular gifts at graduation ceremonies for years.

But the college said it wanted to encourage sustainable behaviour as part of its eco-school status.

Amy Harvey, earth and environmental senior science lecturer, said: “This year we are hoping to raise awareness to the wider community on the importance of not only reducing waste, but getting the public to think about the impact of that waste.

“Bermuda College is going balloon-free from the perspective of decorating as well as gifts for sale in our College Bookstore.”

Ms Harvey added: “We are encouraging all guests to consider joining us by choosing eco-friendly gifts for their graduate this year.

“Plant a tree, give them an experience for a gift, or money towards further education. We’re hoping that the balloon-free graduation initiative will spark others to get on board.”

Anne Hyde, executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful, said: “Congratulations to Bermuda College which is making a conscious choice to not have balloons at their graduation this year.

“Many people do not realise the dangers that balloons pose to the environment and marine life. It does not matter if the balloons get released deliberately or accidentally, the potential for them to kill turtles and birds is a great danger.

“Thank you for taking this simple step towards a brighter future for us all.”

Julie Steele, eco-schools Bermuda co-ordinator and education head at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, said: “BUEI applauds all of the graduates and their families for their achievements, and their support in simple steps for ocean conservation.”