Releasing balloons has always been seen as a way to celebrate something. However, it’s finally time we stop doing this. A non-profit organization called Balloons Blow is pleading for everyone to stop releasing balloons in the air, as they will just come back to the ground and sea, polluting the earth and having damaging effects on wildlife.
1. Balloons are one of the biggest dangers for marine wildlife.
According to a study conducted by the University of Tasmania, balloons are the number 1 marine debris risk in the mortality of seabirds. The same researchers looked at the causes of death of 1,733 seabirds from different species and found that 1 in 3 of the birds had ingested marine debris.
Once their time in the air is up, balloons return to the land or sea and often get mistaken for food. Not just birds, but sea turtles, dolphins, whales and fish have also been found with balloon debris in their stomachs or have been involved in ribbon entanglement. Sky lanterns also fall under this category and should not be released into the air either.
2. Latex and mylar balloons are actually not bio-degradable.
The 2 most common types of balloons are latex and mylar, a.k.a “foil” balloons.
- Latex balloons are degradable, but it would still take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years to degrade. That’s more than enough time for the debris to hurt an animal.
- Mylar balloons are definitely the worst option of the 2 to release since they don’t degrade and are far less friendly to the environment.
3. There are environment-friendly alternatives to balloons.
Balloons are perceived as a celebration of life and are used for ceremonies, decorations, parties and whatever else we can think of. But we should be more aware of the damaging effects they have on the environment and wildlife. We should never release them into the air but rather, dispose of them properly.
Mylar (foil) balloons can be reused and recycled.
There are other alternatives to balloons we can take advantage of. The 3 most popular ones are blowing bubbles, planting flowers, flying kites, using pinwheels, and releasing floating flowers.
Have you ever participated in a coastal cleanup? If yes, share the info and pictures with the rest of the community to hopefully inspire more and more people to take part in keeping our land and seas garbage-free.