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Balloons Are Killers of Wildlife: Pledge to Say NO to Balloons

Balloons Are Killers of Wildlife: Pledge to Say NO to Balloons

Letter to
Balloons are supposed to express innocence, love or other positive feelings. “A way to celebrate.” But they are actually killers. And these are preventable deaths.

Some filled with helium or even air can float for great distances. And then wildlife mistakes these man-made objects that return to earth as food. Sea creatures like whales and land animals like big horn sheep mistake them for food or find them curious.

Balloons like plastic bags can become trapped in their throats and cause an animal to suffocate to death. Or “block the esophagus, preventing the animal from expelling gasses. This can develop into ruminal tympany, a life-threatening condition commonly referred to as ‘bloat.’…If bloat is not treated immediately, the animal can die from asphyxiation…a painful death…an inflated balloon ruptures while being eaten by a bighorn sheep, balloon particles can be aspirated up the windpipe. Latex fragments can either block airflow, which leads to suffocation, or clog the system of increasingly smaller airspaces within the lungs, which leads to (aspiration) pneumonia.”

Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They litter the world and kill animals. “About 100,000 animals such as dolphins, turtles, whales, penguins are killed every year due to plastic bags. Many animals ingest plastic bags, mistaking them for food, and therefore die. And worse, the ingested plastic bag remains intact even after the death and decomposition of the animal. Thus, it lies around in the landscape where another victim may ingest it.”
Our actions and/or inactions have impacted the lives of many species. We need to take action. We can prevent such atrocities. We need to be more careful, Rebecca Barboza suggests:
• “Use air instead of helium to reduce distance they travel
• Do not release balloons outdoors or attached them securely to weights or solid objects
• Use natural, biodegradable cotton string
• Discourage schools and businesses from releasing balloons for celebrations
• Share this information to whomever and whenever possible.”
• Use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags

Please take the pledge today.

Rebecca Barboza, Anza-Borrego Foundation’s Desert Update (No.68, Winter 2011)