The Non-festive Balloon

Almost every day a balloon washes up or blows onto our shore. Not only is the litter ugly but balloon debris is dangerous to wildlife.

I sincerely hope the person to whom this festive balloon was given had a good time at their party because someone made the mistake of letting it go and it ended up littering my neighbourhood. I am lucky in that I get to walk my dog on a beach every day and it is beautiful, except when the garbage rolls in. Almost every day a balloon washes up or blows onto our shore. Not only is the litter ugly but balloon debris is dangerous to wildlife. There are two types of party balloons; latex and Mylar. Latex balloons are supposed to pop and then break down into tiny harmless particles. Mylar balloons should never be released as they are a completely non-biodegradable or recyclable. When these balloons are let go into the environment many animals see them as edible and die from starvation or other complications. The situation is so bad there is a charity devoted to educating people on the horrors of balloons and their release into the environment. According to;

Beach litter surveys have shown the amount of balloons and balloon pieces found on the beach have tripled in the past 10 years….Dolphins, whales, turtles, and many other marine species, as well as terrestrial animals such as cows, dogs, sheep, tortoises, birds and other animals have all been hurt or killed by balloons. The animal is usually killed from the balloon blocking its digestive tract, leaving them unable to take in any more nutrients. It slowly starves to death.

I think the situation is clear. If you really need to celebrate with balloons, keep them tied down until you can dispose of them properly. Advocate for no mass balloon releases for any celebration. And, look to other festive or commemorative alternatives, like fabric flags, tissue paper pom poms, planting saplings, lighting candles and blowing bubbles.

Other links:
Music festival pops idea of using balloons after decorations found in eco reserve – CBC
Environmental Nature Center
Should We Ban Helium Balloons – The Guardian

Beach, Balloon, Trash, litter, save the planet, environment, flotsam, jetsam, helium, wildlife, impact

Balloon Trash on the Beach

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