If you were ever a kid at one point, chances are you’ve probably released a balloon into the sky. You might have even let one fly more recently, if you have kids of your own. Let’s face it: kids love balloons. They also have a habit of letting them go, watching in amazement as they fly higher and higher until they are out of sight.
Whether your balloon’s freedom was intentional or accidental, you probably never gave it another thought after it disappeared behind the trees. The truth is, releasing balloons into the air is extremely harmful to the environment. It might be time to give it a second thought.
Balloons Blow is an organization that “provides information to educate people about the destructive effects released balloons have on animals, people and the environment.” The organization recently posted a photo guide to their Facebook page to explain to the public why they should never release balloons outside.
Please Cullman County, do not permit/promote balloon releases. Balloons can travel great distances always fall as…
Posted by Balloons Blow on Tuesday, March 28, 2017
The photo explains, “Balloons can travel thousands of miles, polluting the most remote pristine places. Once they do, they become a danger to any animal that comes in contact with it.” The post goes on to say, “When an animal swallows a balloon, it can block its intestinal tract, leading to starvation.”
Land creatures aren’t the only ones in danger of ingesting balloons. “Sea turtles other marine creatures are known to confuse balloons as jellies. Ribbons string that are sometimes attached to balloons can cause entanglement death,” the post reads.
Releasing balloons into the air at a birthday party might seem harmless. But the truth is, it’s the same as throwing trash into the ocean. It poses a serious risk to all wildlife. Even balloons that are biodegradable can take years to break down. As they dissolve, they can release chemicals into the environment.
What Can You Do?
Making sure you don’t release balloons into the environment may seem simple, but it could help save many animals and reduce pollution. You can also encourage businesses not to hold balloon releases. Many companies advertise a balloon release for holidays or special occasions.
If you’re looking for an alternative, try bubbles, flags or banners for birthday parties or get-together’s. As fun as it might be to watch your colorful balloons fly off into the distance, it’s important to understand that you’re polluting the environment and putting animals of all kinds in great danger by letting go of your balloons. The next time you buy a few balloons to celebrate, make sure you hold onto the strings a little tighter.
U.S. Fish Wildlife Service
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