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Norwegian cities to deflate helium balloon sales on May 17th

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Norwegian cities to deflate helium balloon sales on May 17th
Helium balloons in Oslo on May 17th, 2015. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix
12:44 CEST+02:00
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 that has said it will not allow the 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.

READ ALSO: Celebrating May 17th in Norway: A guide for first-timers

In Trondheim, the balloons will be allowed on the condition that they are not light enough to float away, Adresseavisen reports.

Oslo is yet to make a final decision on the matter.

“Helium balloons are completely unnecessary. They litter, as well 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 go a step further and 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 said her company's products were not the main problem when it came to plastics pollution.

“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 to societies and companies in connection with the national day last year and could lose up to 15-20 percent of its annual turnover if a national ban was implemented, the broadcaster reports.

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