Rant: Releasing Balloons

I’ve been meaning to get this off of my chest for a long while.

What is the deal with releasing balloons on special occasions? People do it at weddings, funerals – children let them go into the sky at any festival without any fuss.

Is anyone considering what happens to those balloons once they deflate? They don’t just float away forever and disappear. They’ll slowly shrivel and end up back on the ground or in the water, where they become hazards for wildlife. Sometimes they also get tangled up in trees. Animals mistake the colorful latex for food, and then it tangles up in their intestines or blocks them from accepting real food, and kills them.

When I was in high school, I remember being surprised to find my relatives releasing balloons at my grandmother’s funeral (not that my family has a great enviro track record anyway – don’t get me started). I refused to let one go from my hand. I couldn’t believe how stupid they were to think that letting balloons go into the air would be some sort of precious gesture, rather than what it truly is – a minor attack on the environment.

Interestingly enough, upon researching this problem, I have found that there are laws in place regarding the release of a large number of balloons in several states, including Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, New York, California, and Virginia, among other jurisdictions.

I’m surprised to see that most of the information I’m finding online originated in the UK. Come on America! I know we’re smarter than this.

There is more great information here if you are interested.


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