QUESTION: Balloon protests in Rotterdam?

question / pregunta: 

a comrade just brought your awesome resource to my attention, and I'm hoping you might be able to help me find out about a political action I heard about, but haven't been able to find any documentation of.

I heard that some time ago there was a plan to spray pesticides from planes over Rotterdam in the Netherlands, but people protested against it by putting up so many balloons that the planes could not fly. I understand that aerial spraying has since been banned in Rotterdam. I learned about this from an online comment here, but have found no other reference to this event:

Could you tell me if this action really did occur, and where I might find newspaper articles, pictures, or any other documentation about it?

I'm a disabled, anti-toxics activist in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm largely housebound due to pesticide poisoning, and am working to inform the community about the dangers of pesticides, and actions that have been taken to prevent their application.

Thanx so much for any help you might send my way.


Answer posted by:
jim miller

I and at least one other RadRef librarian have found nothing at all on this protest. I searched Factiva and Lexis Academic (both are major newspaper databases, including major European papers), and New York Times fulltext (Proquest) including NY Times Historical back into the mid 1800s. I did very broad searches such as: balloon* and Rotterdam, pesticide* and spray* and balloon*, and pesticide* and balloon* and protest*; and got nothing close to any article about such a protest anywhere. I also tried Project Muse and JSTOR, just in case such an event was mentioned in a journal article, back to the early 1900s. Google Books gets nothing on it either. In case it was an event from the early 1990s to present, I also did proximity search: rotterdam n20 balloon* in the TX-All Text of Academic Search Premier and Masterfile Premier databases, but got only articles on balloon angioplasty, etc., with Rotterdam as a publisher or university address.

Possibly this happened and never got into the electronic databases, but it seems doubtful that ALL of these full text sources would have missed it. Even if government agencies or the mainline press had tried to suppress it, it seems odd that it would be reported only in that one source you mentioned.

Jim Miller