During the Biggest Week in American Birding, the Birdfreak team attended a talk by the folks from Balloons Blow . The family started cleaning beaches in their home state of Florida over 18 years ago. On their weekly beach cleanups they find a lot of debris that can harm wildlife. In 2012 alone, they found 979 balloons.
Photo by Kim Kaufman
Why focus on balloons?
Large balloon releases seem harmless – you may even read that they are biodegradable. The people at balloonsblow.org have been gathering evidence for years that this is not the case. They can take years to break down. Unfortunately, balloons have a very harmful effect on wildlife – especially birds and marine life. (Impacts on Wildlife and the Environment)
Balloons are used to celebrate places, people and events – and they sometimes thought of as environmentally friendly – but there is growing proof that it just isn’t true – the photo evidence is quite clear.
We are taught all our life that littering is bad. Many people know about the harm in using single serve containers, Styrofoam and plastics – but there isn’t much information on the harm of balloons and the ribbons/attachments that go with them.
So what can we do?
If you hear about a balloon release – speak up! Contact them – spread the word about it. Many people just don’t know that it’s harmful. You can also report a balloon release here.
Make the promise that you or your group/school/organization will use other celebratory alternatives.
When your school/town/company/group (of 10 or more), makes the promise, we will have a tree planted in its name in the ecologically important Boreal Forest. Also, with your permission, we’ll share your environmentally-conscious decision on Facebook and Twitter.