Many, if not most of us have probably been to a balloon release at one time or another. We may have watched balloon releases from afar even as masses of balloons travel up through the air. People organize balloons to be released for reasons such as commemorating the life of a deceased loved one or to celebrate special events such as weddings or athletic competitions.
What Happens To The Balloon?
What happens to the balloons after they are out of our site as they rise, pop and then fall back to earth is the problem. To put it simply, balloon releases cause litter. The broken latex falls into rivers, lakes, forests, fields, and beaches. Even balloons labeled as eco-friendly can wreak havoc on the environment. Though they may decompose sooner than standard latex balloons, they still can take years to disintegrate. Both standard and eco-friendly balloons are a threat to both wildlife and domestic animals who view the colorful pieces as edible. The balloon fragments can get lodged in digestive tracts and cause slow and painful deaths for many species. Balloon strings can get wrapped around bird beaks and turtle shells. Several states have passed laws restricting massive balloon releases.
There are many alternatives to releasing balloons.
- Some people are choosing to instead plant trees in memory of individuals who have passed on.
- Have guests sign a guest book and write a personal note to a graduate or to the newlyweds. Having a book to keep and present to someone at an event will be a keepsake that they can treasure for years to come. Long after the balloon fragments have landed and are polluting our environment and harming animals.
- For people who love the colorfulness of balloons. Try going up in a hot air balloon.
- Hand out colorful wildflower seed packets.
Hopefully, with more education, people will think of healthier ways to celebrate. Alternatives without harming animals and hurting the environment will become more popular.