#EndSkyLitter and #BanBalloonReleases
How do balloon and lanterns affects wildlife and the environment?
Communities and families often release balloons or lanterns into the sky as part of memorials for lost loved ones. However, this is usually done without consideration for how it can affect wildlife and the surrounding environments.
Balloon releases pose a great risk to wildlife, as many creatures have been know to mistake them food and attempt to eat them. This poses a massive choke hazard for the animals and can lead to further complications. Not only that but the strings and ropes that are attached to the balloons can see animals and birds get entangled which can have deadly consequences.
Sky lanterns are typically made from paper and wire, and though paper is biodegradable the wire poses an entanglement threat. Not only that, but these lanterns also offer a fire risk, as to fly they use an open flame. This risk increases during dry summers when it is easier for grass and forests to catch fire.
What about Biodegradables?
Studies have shown that biodegradable balloons take up to 10 years to break down, that is 10 years too long for the wildlife that they put at risk. Before biodegradables have broken down they can be ingested by wildlife.
Are there alternatives to these releases?
Yes! There are many alternatives that can actually have a positive impact on the environment. Here are a few examples:
Plant a tree - This is one of our favourite alternatives, as it is not only a fabulous way to remember the lost loved as the tree will remain there for years to come, plus it gives back to nature.
Bubbles - Blowing thousands of bubbles gives a similar experience to balloon releases but is much less damaging to nature. Just remember to use soap that is safe for the environment.
Organise a Litter Pick or Beach Clean - Many people arrange memorial walks, but you can take it a step further by doing a litter pick in their memory.
How can we protect the environment?
We want to see worldwide bans on balloon releases and sky lanterns to put an end to sky litter. There are a number of localised bans around the world, in the UK over 70 councils have banned balloon releases, you can see a full list of thoses here. In the United States this issue has recently come back into the limelight, the organization Balloons Blow has a comprehensive list of laws that are in places, bills that are active and bills that have failed to pass that you can view here.
Ocean Helper has set up a petition calling for these bans across the world and you can do your part by signing and sharing it!
Click here or on the image below to sign the petition! Together we can protect our environment.
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