A number of towns said prior to the May 17th celebrations that helium balloons would be prohibited, arguing that they pose a litter problem. Oslo and at least 28 other municipalities banned the sale of helium balloons during the national day celebrations.
Those who dared to flout the balloon ban had their fun deflated. At several locations in Oslo and Bærum, police confiscated helium balloons and destroyed them.
“There were five to six episodes throughout the day in Oslo and Bærum in which we went out and confiscated balloons or destroyed them on the spot. Some of the balloon sellers apparently refused to accept the ban while others just decided to take a chance,” Oslo police spokesman Tor Jøkling told VG.
At least one balloon seller indicated that the air has yet to go out of the fight.
“He said that he lost quite a bit of money and would challenge the legality of the decision,” Jøkling said.
The helium balloon ban may continue to hover long after the May 17th celebrations. The environmentalist Green party has indicated that it may try to push for a complete nationwide ban.
“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 told broadcaster NRK last month.