A majority of Hartlepool Mail readers would like to see balloon and sky lantern releases banned in parts of the town, an online poll has revealed.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is campaigning to raise further awareness of the harm which can be caused to animals due to such releases - and a report from the MCS will be discussed by Hartlepool Borough Council's Neighbourhood Services Committee later today. We asked if you thought the occasions should be banned - and 80% of those who voted agreed with the ban. More than 170 people took part in the online poll.
Research by the MCS found that there has been a tripling of balloon release litter found on UK beaches over the last 10 years. In addition, sky lanterns can often be mistaken for distress flares over water, raising false alarms to the Coastguard and RNLI.
Related content: Calls to ban balloon and lantern releases in Hartlepool after animal death fears
Seventy-nine local authorities in the UK have already backed a ban on balloon releases, the report said, and many Mail readers are calling on their council to follow suit.
Here's how you reacted on social media:
Graeme Scott: "How many animals have died ... in our area? None. People don't want to look at facts....knee-jerk reaction to ban everything."
Anth Frain: "Once again, bundles of inflated plastic and rubber being pulled from our North Sea. Ridiculous thing to defend."
Simon Lawlor: "Should be banned."
Helen Gillie: "Definitely ban them. I spoke to the Hartlepool Green Party about banning them and their response was that they wouldn't pursue a ban because it would be insensitive to the people releasing them!
"I would [have] expected more from such a party. Hopefully Hartlepool will follow in the footsteps of the other councils which have banned them."
David Hanlon: "What’s going to stop people doing it on their own properties never mind council land? It would be impossible to police it."
Anthony Wookie Wood: "I disagree on banning this, I've not once heard of any animals killed due to lanterns. Is there really nothing else better happening in the town to write about."
Sally Hart: "Ban!! Honestly can't think of a good reason to release them."
Tracy Coulson: "My friend's pony choked to death on a balloon, her autistic daughter found her and took a very long time to recover.
Beverley Yeoman Glover: "They are dangerous and an environmental disaster. There is nothing wrong with a candlelight vigil if you feel the need to mark an occasion in some way."
Wendy Richardson: "I say ban them I had balloons for my birthday and I had fun popping them all rather than let them go."
At today's meeting, which is taking place at the Civic Centre from 4pm, residents will be encouraged to make alternative suggestions for events to replace balloon releases.
Suggestions already published include tree planting, ceremonial bonfires and use of bubble machines when appropriate.