Welcome Green Monsters! We're your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet.
Download food monster: the biggest, baddest, yummiest vegan food app!
Buy the #EatForThePlanet book
single

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR Newsletter

  GET FOOD MONSTER AppX

A multitude of ascending colorful balloons against the backdrop of a bright blue sky may be a brilliant sight to behold, but, as the saying goes, “what goes up must come down” – and when balloons do, the consequences are deadly for wildlife.

Although there is generally good intent behind the practice of releasing balloons such as memorializing an event, showing remembrance for a person, or to symbolically “let something go,” people fail to realize (or perhaps choose to ignore) that once released, balloons become nothing more than floating litter.

So why are balloons so bad for our planet? When they finally descend and land, 70 percent of the time they end up in one of the world’s oceans. Not only do they become obvious environmental eyesores when washed ashore, they also needlessly kill numerous animals. Here’s how:

Mistaken Meals

Animals both on land and in the oceans frequently misidentify deflated balloons as sources of food.

Sea turtles are especially vulnerable. Jellyfish are a common prey item and often the animals consume deflated balloons floating on the water’s surface, thinking they are a suitable food source. This leads to stomach or intestinal blockages and eventual starvation.

Naturally curious animals such as birds and dolphins are attracted to bright colors and shiny objects and also end up mistakenly ingesting balloons.

String Entanglement

Accidental consumption isn’t the only danger associated with balloons – the strings or ribbons attached to them are just as harmful.

Birds often get entangled, and, once unable to fly, face certain death. Flippers and fins of sea turtles, seals and dolphins can also become wrapped in string, causing infections, amputations and/or death by drowning.

Avoid These Alternatives

Several options have recently become popular and are advertised as being eco-friendly alternatives to balloon releases, but these too have downsides.

Sky lanterns, or Chinese paper lanterns, are essentially airborne candles wrapped in a paper and bamboo or wire frame. Once released, they can float and land anywhere. Several states have banned their use due to this obvious fire starting potential – they have been the source of several brush fires in the US, as well as house fires in the UK.

Butterfly releases are another activity to be avoided. Depending on the species, these insects rely on specific plants for food, nectar and reproduction. If set free in an area where they are not native to (or released during the wrong season) these butterflies will then die. When captive-reared butterflies interact with wild populations, diseases can be spread also.

Try These Earth-Friendly Alternatives Instead

Making the decision to release litter into the environment is clearly not a good choice, regardless of the reason why. Safer options do exist:

  • If you’re looking to remember someone or something, planting a memorial tree or garden is a great way to go about it.
  • If the feeling of releasing something is what you are seeking, blowing bubbles is an equally satisfying option. Or, try tossing a few native flowers into a flowing stream and watch them be carried away.

Remember that letting a balloon go is the same as throwing garbage onto the roadside – littering is littering. Don’t do it and you’ll be saving wildlife from a slow, unnecessary death!

Image source: Nacho/Flickr

Want to read more posts like this? Sign up for our newsletter below!​

Browse through some recent posts below:

Are You Supporting an Elephant ‘Sanctuary’ That Is Actually Causing Suffering?

3 Reasons You Should NOT Shave Your Dog This Summer

Why Is Baystate Medical Center Still Using Pigs for Training When Many Others Have Advanced?

How We Are Helping Local Communities and Empowering Them to End Animal Cruelty


Disclosure: One Green Planet accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

58 comments on “How Balloon Releases Harm Wildlife”

Click to add comment
BABYDICK123
1 Years Ago

DICK MY BOOTY HOLE DOWN , I WANNA SWALLOW YOUR BOLAS


Reply
AndrewJ
1 Years Ago

I like cucumbers in my butt and I can deepthroat


Reply
big dick
31 May 2017

me tooooooooo

LilMeat
1 Years Ago

I want to like your toes and all whites are Jews


Reply
bigDaddySLONGG
1 Years Ago

ill swallow your kids, watch out. (;


Reply
hello
1 Years Ago

GOOD RECOURCES


Reply
crackhead carl
1 Years Ago

i use balloons as condoms


Reply
.........
04 Apr 2017

thats nice

jak
07 Apr 2017

same

Bootleg bill
30 May 2017

I got big dick

wyteboi 420
1 Years Ago

fagot


Reply
Bootleg bill
30 May 2017

I eat bananas with my butt

fatboy
1 Years Ago

i have aids


Reply
Bootleg bill
30 May 2017

I cook aids for breakfast.

wyteboi 420
1 Years Ago

boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii


Reply
Nigger Faggot
1 Years Ago

white power


Reply
fatboy
04 Apr 2017

Black power

Bootleg bill
30 May 2017

pendejo



Subscribe to our Newsletter




Follow us on


Do Not Show This Again

×

Submit to OneGreenPlanet


Terms & Conditions ×
  GET FOOD MONSTER APPX