Balloons have been a popular decoration choice for special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and graduations, as well as promotional events and advertising campaigns. However, with an increase in awareness of the environmental impact of balloons, it is important to understand the consequences of releasing balloons into the environment.
When balloons are released into the atmosphere, they can travel for hundreds of miles and can take months or even years to degrade. During this time, they can cause serious harm to wildlife, animals, and marine life. According to the Marine Conservation Society, balloons and balloon fragments are among the top 10 items found on UK beaches, with an average of 34 balloons found for every kilometer of beach cleaned.
The problem with balloons is not just limited to marine life. Balloons can also pose a danger to wildlife on land, especially for animals that may mistake them for food. Birds, for example, can mistake balloons for jellyfish and ingest them, which can lead to serious health problems or even death. Similarly, cows, sheep, and other grazing animals have been known to ingest balloons, which can cause blockages in the digestive system and lead to starvation.
In addition to the harm they cause to wildlife, balloons also contribute to litter and pollution. Balloons and their ribbon attachments can take years to degrade, and they often end up in oceans and other waterways where they can harm marine life. The International Coastal Cleanup reported that balloons were the sixth most commonly found item in their cleanup efforts in 2018.
It is worth noting that the problem of the environmental impact of balloons has been recognized and some states in the USA and countries have banned or restricted the release of balloons, and many organizations are promoting the idea of using eco-friendly alternatives such as eco-friendly balloons, which are made from biodegradable materials and can break down much faster in the environment.
In conclusion, the release of balloons into the environment can have serious consequences for wildlife, marine life, and the environment. By understanding the impact of balloons, we can make informed decisions about the decorations we choose and consider using eco-friendly alternatives. It is important to remember that taking care of the environment is a shared responsibility, and by making small changes in our behavior we can make a big difference.