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Party Balloons are NOT Festive

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 completely non-biodegradable or recyclable.

When these balloons are let go into the environment many animals see them as edible and die from complications after eating them. 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. But since they will only end up in the landfill, choose not to use them at all. Instead, look to other festive or commemorative alternatives, like fabric flags, tissue paper pom poms, planting saplings, lighting candles and blowing bubbles. You can also advocate for no mass balloon releases for any celebration.

It's a simple thing to do to help the environment and all its inhabitants.

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

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