Almost everyone has taken part in letting a balloon float up and away during some stage in life…
Whether you intentionally liked to see how high your balloon could float, or it somehow managed to slip through your grip, we have all shared this particular memory of a colorful balloon slowly floating into the sky.
Although children are most often the ones that loose track of their helium filled balloons, it is important to teach them just what can happen once it makes it way back down.
You might not have put much thought into where a balloon ends up once it floats past your sight, however its time you knew just how much damage you could be causing.
Releasing balloons in fact has an extremely harmful effect on the environment and the animals that we share it with.
An organization called Balloons Blow, “provides information to educate people about the destructive effects released balloons have on animals, people, and the environment, and strives to inspire and promote an eco-conscious lifestyle.” It has recently posted this guide explaining exactly what might happen if balloons are released, as they often are.
The Facebook page, Balloons Blow, posted this photo on 29th of March this year, hoping to educate Cullman County in Alabama to refrain from intentionally releasing balloons.
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.”
Many animals are unable to distinguish between litter and food, and thus many are prone to accidentally ingesting these substances that cause them grave danger.
“When an animal swallows a balloon, it can block its intestinal tract, leading to starvation,” the photo explains.
“Sea turtles & other marine creatures are known to confuse balloons as jellies. Ribbons & string that are sometimes attached to balloons can cause entanglement & death.”
Once a balloon has burst or deflated, these remains loose their color from sun exposure. If these plastic pieces make their way into the ocean, as they often do, it becomes impossible to tell them apart from actual jellyfish, a major source of food in a sea turtles diet.
The turtles instinctively ingest these deflated balloons, resulting in severe internal harm and inevitable death.
Although releasing balloons into the environment may not seem as though you are littering, it’s in fact no different to throwing trash directly into the oceans and forests.
This simple act is posing severe risks to wildlife and their ecosystems.
Wikimedia / Richard Webb
Even biodegradable balloons still take several years to fully decompose, and may release toxic chemicals as they break down.
Latex balloons in particular create risks that target animals, however “mylar/foil balloons can cause dangerous power outages & spark fires.”
You might be thinking how this balloon issue can be solved with so many are released in our modern society.
As always, change starts with the individual. Every balloon you don’t release is another potential life saved.
In addition, we can all educate those around us, and discourage businesses and events from hosting massive balloon releases.
There are many wonderful alternatives to balloons including banners, bubbles, and flags.
If you would like to go the extra step towards helping our Planet, try planting trees or gardens as memorable tokens to uplifting events.
Now that you know the risks involved, it doesn’t take much to insure you have a tighter grip on your balloons next time.
Don’t forget to SHARE and help spread the knowledge with everyone you know on Facebook!