The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking citizens to stop releasing balloons for the sake of our wildlife.
We use balloons to celebrate a variety of occasions, and while they have a wonderful place in our culture, they're starting to become a problem. The USFWS is asking people to do what they can to refrain from letting them float away.
It turns out, a balloon release is more than littering, it's a legitimate threat to wildlife.
Since many of the balloons end up in our waterways, marine animals can mistake them for food. Similarly, many birds have fallen victim to the same carelessness, becoming entangled in the leftover balloon strings. For these reasons, it's imperative that we put a stop to it.
Please don’t release your balloons. https://www.fws.gov/news/blog/index.cfm/2015/8/5/Balloons-and-Wildlife-Please-Dont-Release-Your-Balloons
The USFWS webpage shows images of tangled birds dangling from power lines. Even sea turtles and other marine life can be killed by balloons. Usually after surfacing and mistaking the marine debris for a jellyfish. Don't forget about other plastic debris either. Stuff like plastic bags, plates and fast food containers can be just as harmful to the environment.
It shouldn't be so difficult for people to celebrate on one hand, and remain conscious of the environment on the other. But by shedding some light on the issue, the USFWS has at least started a conversation about the release of balloons.
Now it's up to the rest of us to carry on the dialog. Don't release balloons at birthday parties or other celebrations, or you'll be a contributor to the plastic pollution problem.