Balloon Doom

Far-Flying Rubber Harms Sea Creatures




Ekaterina_Minaeva/Shutterstock.com

Helium-filled balloons look pretty when released at special events, but they eventually become earthbound trash littering land and water, often traveling great distances before reaching their final resting places; spans of up to 1,300 miles have been recorded. The Ocean Conservancy recently picked up nearly 94,000 balloon remnants in the course of a year’s worth of cleanup operations.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fish, dolphins, whales, seabirds and sea turtles have all been found with latex balloons in their stomachs, blocking their digestive tracts. One study of two stranded sperm whales in California attributed their deaths to huge amounts of consumed ocean debris. Another found that more than half of one species of sea turtle surveyed had trash in their gut; mostly balloons. The problem is so serious that several states and cities have already outlawed mass balloon releases.

Latex balloons are technically biodegradable, but that process can take six months or more, according to the UK National Association of Balloon Artists and Suppliers. Celebratory alternatives include laser shows, music performances, bubbles, banners and reusable inflatable characters.


Source: Grist.org


This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Cycling Chicago

With 100 miles of new bike lanes already, Chicago is now moving to build floating, solar-powered paths along the Chicago River to create an auto-free commute.

Eco IKEA

Ikea’s new line of “no waste” products includes cabinet doors made partly of recycled plastic bottles, a chair made of recycled plastic and wood, and vases made of recycled glass.

Choo Choo Breakthrough

All of the electric trains in the Netherlands are now running on energy generated by wind turbines, transmitted via high-voltage power lines.

Greener Diapers

About 7.4 billion pounds of dirty plastic baby diapers pile up in landfills each year, yet cloth diapers offer clear environmental and cost advantages and even help with potty training.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Zen Shiatsu Training

Business Spotlight
Shiatsu School of Vermont, one of two schools certified in the U.S. to offer Zen-style shiatsu certification, is offering a one-year Certified Practitioner Program starting this September.

Transformation Through the Art of Breema

An upcoming weekend retreat at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Movement from April 20 to 22 will provide a fulfilling entry into Breema’s philosophy, self-care exercises and bodywork.

Tour Green Homes at Green House Festival in Brookline

Mothers Out Front has organized a green home tour from noon to 3 p.m. on April 8, in Brookline.

Sleeping Better Naturally

Business Spotlight
At The Organic Mattress, a family-owned specialty sleep store, people will find mattresses made from natural and organic ingredients, including organic cotton, wool and natural latex made from the sap of rubber trees.

Rising Seas Threaten Boston

The Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is standing up to protect Commonwealth small business communities against imminent danger.

Peace on Earth

My latest favorite author is 20th-century new thought leader and philosopher Emmet Fox. His piece below feels like a perfect fit in light of the world’s celebration of our planet on Earth Day this month.