It was in England in the early 19th century when rubber balloons were invented. Shortly after the tradition to release balloons during any kind of celebration like weddings, anniversaries, store openings and many others established. It seems that people very much like the way balloons dance in the wind as they raise into the sky. Necks often hurt as people don’t want to lose sight of the own balloon. When the short pleasure is over, most “ballooners” don’t think about the consequences. But it’s a fact, that gravity gets all the balloons back, sooner or later, spread somewhere in our environment.
The problem are the materials
Balloons are made of: They are made from synthetic rubber, plastics or even natural rubber. The issues caused by synthetic rubber and plastics in our environment I don’t have to explain any further. But also the release of natural rubber balloons is really problematic for the following reasons:
- Once the Helium is “wasted” and the balloon filled, almost every time it’s sealed with a little plastic clip. On top a synthetic band is attached to it. Means your bio balloon is transporting plastics into the wild, where especially the bands (also natural cords) can be deadly traps for animals.
- Even if natural rubber balloons degrade within days or weeks – no animal can hold breath or pause digestion until a swallowed balloon is degraded/digested. Concretely this means that the concerned animals suffocate to death or suffer an intestinal obstruction which most likely also kills them. This fact makes the argumentation of many balloon producing companies, that their balloons degrade as quick as oak leafs, not much worth anymore.
- Furthermore we live in a time where many fake or wrongly declared products flood our markets, this should be reason enough not to take any risk and just not let balloons fly into the sky.
Just don’t do it!
Considering the facts above I leave it to you whether you find it okay to still release balloons. Whether you accept to put wildlife at such a risk for your short entertainment. My opinion is made, I would say releasing balloons is indirect littering and should be banned. Politics or not, I am happy about every single reader, who puts nature above pleasure in this particular case.
Pictures source: www.balloonsblow.org, where you’ll find more info about the issue. Thank you!
Also have a look at the following video by Zoos Victoria: