Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

Council bans glow sticks from big community Christmas lights event

Tamsin Rose, August 13, 2018 7:00PM Kids News

Print Article

Sisters Vaiva, 5, Kira, 3 and Nina, 7 have fun with their glow sticks. Picture: Jason Edwards media_cameraSisters Vaiva, 5, Kira, 3 and Nina, 7 have fun with their glow sticks. Picture: Jason Edwards

civics

Reading level: green

Glow sticks have been banned from a Christmas celebration because the local council says they’re bad for the environment and are distracting children from focusing on the “community spirit*”.

Banyule Council in Victoria — which had already banned balloons and disposable plastic plates and cutlery* at festivals and events — has now turned its attention to Ivanhoe’s Boulevard Lights display. A glow stick seller had paid $10,000 to sell at the event but now is not allowed to.

The Victorian ban is just the latest glow stick ban. The disposable, glow-in-the-dark plastics are quickly falling out of favour around Australia and the world. Sunshine Coast Council in Queensland banned glow sticks for the 2017-18 New Year’s Eve celebrations at Mooloolaba.

The huge music and arts festival Coachella in California, US, first banned glow sticks in 2016 and the ban remained for 2017 and 2018. Glow sticks are now banned at many music concerts in Australia and overseas.

Lars, 5 and sister Brooklyn, 7, of Townsville, with their glow sticks on New Year's Eve, South bank, Brisbane. Picture: Liam Kidston media_cameraLars, 5 and sister Brooklyn, 7, of Townsville, with their glow sticks on New Year’s Eve, South bank, Brisbane. Picture: Liam Kidston

Banyule mayor Councillor Mark Di Pasquale said the decision for the Ivanhoe Boulevard Lights event aimed to refocus* children’s attention back to lights on houses and not ones they could buy such as glow sticks.

“It was found glow sticks contributed to the cost of cleaning up the event and feedback from parents found they were distracting children,” Cr* Di Pasquale said.

“The Boulevard Christmas Lights are designed … to be a community-building experience for families, friends and the community to connect by spending time together.”

The 10-day Boulevard Lights display has run for 60 years, attracting up to 6000 visitors a night.

Phoenix, 7, and Winter, 3, who live on The Boulevard, Ivanhoe, with their Christmas lights last year. Picture: Jason Edwards media_cameraPhoenix, 7, and Winter, 3, who live on The Boulevard, Ivanhoe, with their Christmas lights last year. Picture: Jason Edwards

But a council review this month found removing the glow stick seller gave an “opportunity” to build on its “positive environmental gains” and maintain the event’s “non-commercial* spirit”.

“There are also strong arguments put forward by parents regarding the pester* power of children wanting a glow stick rather than focusing on the Christmas community spirit,’’ the council’s report stated.

The Boulevard resident Perry Labiris, who has lived on the street for 28 years, said the decision was a shock. Mr Labiris said he never had a problem with litter after the lights display.

“I am surprised,’’ he said.

“People aren’t throwing them (glow sticks) out as far as litter is concerned.”

Mr Labiris agreed the lights event should not be about making money but did not see the issue with glow sticks being sold and had never noticed his children or others “missing the point” of the Christmas festival.

Siblings Holly, 10, Zoe, 6 and Isabelle, with glow sticks at the Christmas lights on The Boulevard, Ivanhoe, last year. Picture: Jason Edwards media_cameraSiblings Holly, 10, Zoe, 6 and Isabelle, with glow sticks at the Christmas lights on The Boulevard, Ivanhoe, last year. Picture: Jason Edwards

EXTRA READING

Push to ban helium balloons

Shocking find in dead whales’ stomach

Turning plastic into something precious

GLOSSARY

  • spirit: the mood, theme or reason for the event
  • cutlery: knives, forks and spoons
  • refocus: put the attention back onto something else
  • Cr: short for Councillor
  • non-commercial: not for making money
  • pester: nag and keep asking in an annoying way

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What two reasons did the council give for the ban?
  2. Give three other examples for events where they are already banned.
  3. How many nights does the Boulevard Lights event go for? How many visit each night?
  4. What argument have parents made in favour of the ban?
  5. Has Mr Labiris noticed glow sticks littering the street?

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Who cares?
Have a think about who is impacted by the ban on glow sticks at the Boulevard Lights display. Identify 4 individuals or groups that might care about this ban. Explain how you think they would feel about it and why they might feel that way.

2. Extension
The minimisation of plastic waste is receiving a lot of attention at the moment with bans on items such as glow sticks, straws and single-use plastic bags. Make a list of plastic items that have been or could be banned along with a suitable replacement or substitute for each one that eliminates or reduces waste.

Time: Allow 20 minutes
Curriculum links: English, Science, Civics and Citizenship

VCOP ACTIVITY
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think glow sticks should be banned from this and other events? Why or why not?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences.

Extra Reading in civics