Friday, May 25, 2012

Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go!

Please meet my newest bloggy friends, Chelsea and Danielle. I invited Chelsea and Danielle over to talk a bit about their mission (and passion). I think you'll find it very interesting.

Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go! --

That’s the message we’re trying to get out. When we first started cleaning the beaches over 15 years ago, my sister and I, along with our parents, would never find balloons. As the years went on we would find a few more here and there. Now, both in our early 20’s, we continue our weekly beach cleanups and every year we find more and more balloons. Of course there is much more plastic than ever as well, but the disturbing thing about balloon pollution is that it is “celebrating by littering”. We collected over a thousand balloons in 2011. This year's count so far is already over 200.

It is very alarming, the amount of debris that gets washed ashore on our beaches, but it is particularly troubling that people are purposely littering with balloons to celebrate, to honor the dead, or to just mindlessly watch it float away. This is the reason we have created, a website dedicated to educating people about the danger and destruction that releasing balloons can cause. There are countless websites and Facebook pages promoting balloon releases. The balloon sellers try to convince people that latex balloons are "environmentally-friendly" and that they are "biodegradable" and harmless, but we show proof, that is not true. There are laws concerning balloon releases in several states in the U.S. and many countries around the world, yet many unknowing celebrators, grieving groups, and others, are arranging balloon releases worldwide. Honoring a loved one or celebrating by littering (litter that can entangle and kill wildlife) is ridiculous and should be banned altogether. People need to get creative and earth-friendly with their celebrations, and we will keep trying to get the word out that: Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go!

About Chelsea and Danielle

Since we could walk, we have been doing beach clean-ups with our parents. One of the most disturbing debris we find are balloons. We find at least one every time we go to the beach (which is a minimum of once a week). In the past five years we have been finding an increasing amount of balloons, most with ribbons attached. Any animal that comes close can easily be entangled in the mess and eventually die. Wildlife can also mistake the popped or slightly inflated balloons for food and ingest them which can lead to death.

An increasing amount of people are releasing balloons for fun, for an event, or to remember a loved one. We find these balloons; balloons with festival logos, birthday balloons, balloons with notes, valentines day balloons, bouquets of balloons, balloons with charity logos, even animal print balloons (how ironic). The fact is that letting balloons go is littering. All litter threatens wildlife and the environment.

A little over a year ago we created, a website dedicated to bringing awareness of the impact balloon litter has on the environment. Since then we have gained support from people around the world through our facebook fanpage including scientists, rehabbers, and other grassroot organizations. We hope to continue spreading our message and hope it stirs more environmental consciousness and respect for our planet.

Thanks so much to both Chelsea and Danielle for stopping by with their message. As this weekend is a holiday in the US, I encourage everyone to reconsider the use of balloons. Chelsea and Danielle are now on Twitter ... their user ID is @BalloonsBlow.

Have a great weekend everyone!